Researcher biography

Dr Khalil was awarded a competitive MSc scholarship in October 2003 by School of Pharmacy, Cairo, Egypt to pursue her studies at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, developing rapid detection techniques for Gram-negative and Gram-positive infections using nitrate reductase. Following her MSc degree, she was awarded UQ scholarship and commenced her PhD studies under the supervision of Prof Capon, at the UQ Institute for Molecular Biosciences (IMB). In 2013 she was awarded a PhD, with a thesis titled "Innovations in microbial biodiscovery, targeting silent metabolism and new chemical diversity". In 2013-2014 she held a research position on a UQ-industry (Progenra Inc, USA) funded project targeting the discovery of new ubiquitin ligase inhibitors for the treatment of severe neurodegenerative diseases. In 2014-2016 she held a research position on a UQ-industry funded project targeting the discovery of new anthelmintics from microbes for the treatment of gastrointestinal infections (Haemonchus contortus). In 2016-2019, and building on a discovery made during her PhD, she took up a postdoctoral position in a joint project between the UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience (Prof Capon) and the UQ Diamantina Institute (Assoc. Prof. Blumenthal), funded by an Australian Tropical Medicines Commercialisation (ATMC) grant, to develop new antitubercular agents from Australian microbes. In 2019 this position transitioned to a UQ-US Department of Defence funded project, further advancing the wollamides, a new class of antitubercular antibiotic. In 2019 she joined a UQ-industry (Nexgen Plants) funded project, to develop a non-cytotoxic bacterial natural product, co-discovered by Dr Khalil and Prof. Capon that stimulates a natural immune response in plants, protecting them from pathogen infection (i.e., Phytophthora). This technology has been disclosed to the UQ commercialisation company UniQuest.