Maged Saad

Research Scientists

Senior Research Scientist



Research Interests

Being a molecular biologist, Maged Saad has developed a deep interest in the adaption of microbes to their hosts. In particular, he is fascinated by the dual lifestyle of different bacteria and their mechanisms to interact with plants and modulate the plant immune system. He believes that microbe research in basic as well applied context exhibits great potential to benefit humanity in resolving upcoming challenges in fields such as medicine and agriculture, and his work is guided by this goal.

Doing state-of-the-art fundamental research on microbes in context with agriculture, Saad aims to generate and communicate highly novel knowledge that will in the ideal case allow immediate translation into successful practical applications.

Selected Publications

  • Tailoring Plant-Associated Microbial Inoculants in Agriculture - A Roadmap for Successful Application, Saad MM, Eida AA, Hirt H., Journal of Experimental Botany, 2020, eraa111.
  • Complete Genome Sequence of Paenibacillus sp. JZ16, a Plant Growth Promoting Root Endophytic Bacterium of the Desert Halophyte Zygophyllum Simplex, Eida AA, Bougouffa S, Alam I, Hirt H, Saad MM., Current Microbiology, 2020, 10.1007/s00284-00020-01908-00285.
  • Complete genome sequence of the endophytic bacterium Cellulosimicrobium sp. JZ28 isolated from the root endosphere of the perennial desert tussock grass Panicum turgidum, Eida AA, Bougouffa S, Alam I, Saad MM, Hirt H., Archives of Microbiology, 2020.
  • Genome Insights of the Plant-Growth Promoting Bacterium Cronobacter muytjensii JZ38 With Volatile-Mediated Antagonistic Activity Against Phytophthora infestans, Eida AA, Bougouffa S, L’Haridon F, Alam I, Weisskopf L, Bajic VB, Saad MM, Hirt H., Frontiers in Microbiology, 2020, 11.
  • Piriformospora indica alters Na⁠+/K⁠+ homeostasis, antioxidant enzymes and LeNHX1 expression of greenhouse tomato grow under salt stress, Abdelaziz M., Abdelsatar ⁠M⁠, Abdeldaym E, Atia ⁠M, Mahmoud A, Saad MM, Hirt H, Scientia Horticulturae, 2019, 256.
  • Bioprospecting desert plant Bacillus endophytic strains for their potential to enhance plant stress tolerance, Bokhari A., Essack M., Lafi F., Andres-Barrao C., Jalal R., Alamoudi S., Razali R., Alzubaidy H., Shah K., Siddique S., Bajic V., Hirt H, Saad MM, Scientific Report, 2019, 18154.
  • Loss of NifQ Leads to Accumulation of Porphyrins and Altered Metal-Homeostasis in Nitrogen-Fixing Symbioses, Saad MM, Michalet S, Fossou R, Putnik-Delic M, Crevecoeur M, Meyer J, de Malezieux C, Hopfgartner G, Maksimovic I, Perret X,  Mol Plant Microbe Interact, 2018, MPMI07180188R.
  • Ethylene induced plant stress tolerance by Enterobacter sp. SA187 is mediated by 2-keto-4-methylthiobutyric acid production, de Zelicourt A, Synek L, Saad MM, Alzubaidy H, Jalal R, Xie Y, Andres-Barrao C, Rolli E, Guerard F, Mariappan KG, Daur I, Colcombet J, Benhamed M, Depaepe T, Van Der Straeten D, Hirt H, PLoS Genet, 2018, 14 (3):e1007273.
  • Metaorganisms in extreme environments: do microbes play a role in organismal adaptation?, Bang C, Dagan T, Deines P, Dubilier N, Duschl WJ, Fraune S, Hentschel U, Hirt H, Hülter N, Lachnit T, Picazo D, Pita L, Pogoreutz C, Rädecker N, Saad MM, Schmitz RA, Schulenburg H, Voolstra CR, Weiland-Bräuer N, Ziegler M, Bosch TCG., Zoology, 2018, (Jena) 127, 1-19.
  • Boosting Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) Production With Rhizobacteria From Various Plants in Saudi Arabia, Daur I, Saad MM, Eida AA, Ahmad S, Shah ZH, Ihsan MZ, Muhammad Y, Sohrab SS, Hirt H., Frontiers in Microbiology, 2018, 9, 477-477.


  • PhD, Molecular biology, University of Geneva , Geneva, Switzerland, 2004
  • MSc, Biochemistry, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, 1998
  • BSc, Biochemistry, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, 1993

Professional Profile

  • 2020-present: Senior Research Scientist, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2014-2020: Research Scientist, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2008-2013: Maître Assistant, Unite of Microbiology, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2005-2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Toulouse, France
  • 2004-2005: Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 1999-2004: PhD Candidate, Faculty of Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 1994-2004: Researcher, Agriculture Research Center, Giza, Egypt

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • KSA National coordinator for “The Fascination of Plants Day“
  • American Society of Plant Pathology
  • American Society of Plant Microbial Interaction
  • Swiss Society of Proteomics 
  • Egyptian Society of Biochemistry

Research Interests Keywords

personalized desert agriculture microbial breeding biostimulants microbial genetic and bacterial evaluation