Dr. Layla Y. Kamareddine was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1988. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Biology (with honors) from the Lebanese American University in 2009. She then obtained a Masters (MSc) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the American University of Beirut in 2011 and 2016, respectively. Her interdisciplinary research unites Molecular Biology, Immunology, and Microbiology (Parasitology, Bacteriology, and Mycology), and her main research theme lies in the field of host-pathogen interaction, with particular focus on the role of the innate immune system in blocking the development of a broad spectrum of pathogens using well established molecular and functional genetic tools. During her graduate studies, Dr. Kamareddine investigated different molecular mechanisms used by the immune system of Anopheles gambiae, the major vector of malaria in Africa, to fight-off invading pathogens including Plasmodium berghei parasites, Beauveria bassiana fungi, and different Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial species. The upshots of her research work revealed that melanization is implicated in Anopheles gambiae immune defense against the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana. Being interested in the biological control of the malaria vector, she also studied the virulent effect of transgenic Beauveria bassiana fungi expressing the decapeptide hormone-trypsin modulating oostatic factor (TMOF)- on the survival and fecundity of targeted Anopheles gambiae. Dr. Kamareddine also identified that CLIPA2, a clip domain serine protease homolog, negatively regulates the consumption of the complement-like protein TEP1 during systemic infections to prevent an overwhelming immune response of the mosquito host. Her work also disclosed ApolipophorinII/I gene, encoding the two lipid carrier proteins Apo-I and II, as another TEP1 negative regulator, providing novel insight into the functional interplay between lipid metabolism and immune gene regulation. To broaden her knowledge in understanding the interplay between innate immunity and different physiological processes, Dr. Kamareddine is currently working on deciphering the molecular mechanisms that control the cross talk between innate immunity and metabolism in both invertebrate and vertebrate models at Harvard Medical School-Boston Children’s Hospital. In addition to her recognized publication record, Dr. Kamareddine’s research productivity was documented by receiving many prestigious awards namely: The National Council for Scientific Research-Lebanon (CNRS-L)/AUB Doctoral Scholarship award and The Kamal A. Shair-Central Research Science Laboratory (CRSL) award. Beyond her research success, she was also fortunate to obtain a wide-range of teaching experience by serving as a lecturer for many laboratory courses including Diversity of Life, General Biology I and II, Genetics, and Microbiology at the American University of Beirut between 2009 and 2016.
Dr. Layla Y. Kamareddine’s Research interests fall in the context of host-pathogen interactions and are mainly directed towards a proper understanding of the strategies used by the innate immune system to clear infections. She is also interested in studying the molecular mechanisms that control the bi-directional cross-talk between innate immunity and different physiological processes, particularly metabolism in invertebrate and vertebrate models. Her broad research objective is to establish novel strategies to treat chronic metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes through the manipulation of immune signaling pathways.