Fatima Aysha Hussain is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, working with Professor Martin Polz. Her dissertation work focuses on virus-driven evolution of marine microbes. By studying how bacteria evolve in response to their natural viral predators, Fatima seeks to understand the implications and opportunities of using viruses to control bacterial pathogens in the environment. Due to the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria, there is a renewed interest in phage therapy—the use of bacterial viruses to treat bacterial illness. Understanding how bacteria evolve resistance to viruses within their complex ecologies will be critical to designing safe and effective phage-based therapeutics as alternatives to antibiotics.
Fatima holds an M.S. degree from Stanford University in Civil and Environmental Engineering and an S.B. degree from MIT in Environmental Engineering Science with minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Outside of her research, Fatima serves as a graduate resident tutor for the fourth floor residents of Maseeh Hall (M4), and is the head of outreach and education for the Herman Project—a citizen science project investigating sourdough evolution.