Mariam Awlia

PhD Students
​​PhD Student​


Mariam Awlia was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from University College London (UCL) and Masters degree in Bioscience from King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST). She is now a PhD candidate in Plant Science at KAUST with a specialisation in plant salinity tolerance under the supervision of Prof. Mark Tester. 

Research Interests

She is interested in understanding the mechanisms of salinity tolerance in plants; an area of importance to agriculture and environmental sustainability. More specifically, her work examines the osmotic component of salinity tolerance (the shoot ion independent tolerance), which is the earliest response to salt stress and is mainly related to changes in growth rate, leaf temperature (stomatal closure) and photosynthetic activity.

Selected Publications

  • Julkowska, M.M., Saade, S., Agarwal, G., Gao, G., Morton, M.J.L., Paillies, Y., Awlia, M., Tester, M. (2018). MVApp – Multivariate analysis application for streamlined data analysis and curation, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1067974
  • Awlia, M., Nigro, A., Fajkus, J., Schmoeckel, S.M., Negrão, S., Santelia, D., Trtílek, M., Tester, M., Julkowska, M.M., and Panzarová, K. (2016). High-throughput non-destructive phenotyping of traits that contribute to salinity tolerance in Arabidopsis thalianaFrontiers in Plant Science 7
  • Rungrat, T., Awlia, M., Brown, T., Cheng, R., Sirault, X., Fajkus, J., Trtilek, M., Furbank, B., Badger, M., Tester, M., Pogson, B.J., Borevitz, J.O., and Wilson, P. (2016). Using phenomic analysis of photosynthetic function for abiotic stress response gene discovery. The Arabidopsis Book, e0185


  • Aug. 2016 - present:     PhD candidate at the Center for Desert Agriculture KAUST, Thuwal, KSA
  • Dec. 2013 - Aug.2016   PhD in Bioscience,King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
  • Aug. 2012 - Dec.2013   MSc in Bioscience,King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
  • Sept. 2009 - June 2012 University College of London, BSc in Biochemistry.
  • Sept. 2008 - June 2009Warwick University, Science & Engineering Foundation Programme​

Professional Profile

  • 2016 - Present: PhD candidate at the Center for Desert Agriculture KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 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

Scientific and Professional Memberships

2017 – 2019 - Society of Experimental Biology (SEB) PhD membership & travel grant

2008 – 2012 - KAUST Gifted Student Program (KGSP) BSc and MSc scholarship


  • 2008-2012: Recipient of the KAUST Gifted Student Scholarship, a comprehensive scholarship that consists of pursuing a BSc in the UK, followed by an MSc in KAUST.
  • 2010: Gold Medal at the MIT International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. Hypoxon: improved manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals by hypoxia-sensitive triggering of positive feedback loop in E.coli.