Home > People > Alumni > Mariam Awlia

Mariam Awlia

PhD Student

Research Group: Mark Tester

Research Interests

Salt stress significantly reduces plant growth and crop yield, but the early tolerance responses are poorly understood. In my project, I aim to separate the early osmotic component of salinity tolerance (the shoot-ion independent phase) from longer-term effects of salinity on growth, using high throughput and non-destructive imaging of Arabidopsis thaliana.

Phenotyping in the days immediately after salt imposition enables the quantification of the osmotic component by capturing measurements through time of leaf growth, fluorescence (reflecting photosynthetic capacity), and temperature (reflecting changes in stomatal aperture). Doing this for members of bi-parental and association mapping populations of Arabidopsis thaliana enables genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to be undertaken, to identify loci and, ultimately, genes affecting the shoot ion independent tolerance.

Education Profile

  • Ph.D., Plant Science, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 2014 – current
  • M.Sc., Bioscience, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 2012 - Dec.2013
  • B.Sc., Biochemistry, UCL, London, UK, Sept. 2009 - June 2012

Professional Profile

  • 2015: Visiting scientist, PSI, Drasov, Czech Republic
  • 2014: Visiting scientist, CSIRO, Canberra, Australia
  • 2013: Directed research student, CDA, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2012-2014: Member of Graduate Student Council, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2012: Directed research student, Institute of Child Health, UCL, London, UK
  • 2012: Summer intern, Biocomputing Unit, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy
  • 2011: Volunteer counselor, SRSI Program, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2010: Member of UCL iGEM Team, UCL Biochemical Engineering Lab, London, UK


  • 2008-2012  Recipient of the KAUST Gifted Student Scholarship, (A comprehensive scholarship that consists of pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in the United Kingdom, followed by a Masters Degree in KAUST)   
  • 2010 Gold Medal  at the MIT International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition