Company: Vanderbilt University
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee, United States
Houra Merrikh, PhD, a professor at Vanderbilt University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Scientists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the field of microbiology.
Drawing on more than a decade of experience in the fields of biochemistry and microbiology, Dr. Merrikh has earned distinction in her role at Vanderbilt University, where she has served as the lead administrator of a research laboratory since 2012. In this capacity, she provides expert mentorship to doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows during their journey toward becoming scientists and educators in their own right. Meanwhile, her research pursuits at Vanderbilt have centered on slowing the rate at which bacteria mutates and evolves, with a particular eye toward applying the consequent results to clinical applications and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Well-versed in various areas of study, including antibiotic resistance, Dr. Merrikh began her career as an assistant professor of microbiology with the Department of Health and Sciences at the University of Washington. She went on to discover the Mutation Frequency Decline, a protein that hastens the mutation rate of bacteria. Likewise acclaimed for her scholarly output, Dr. Merrikh has contributed to articles that have appeared in such publications as Nature, Cell, Nature Reviews Microbiology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, many of which have been extensively cited by her colleagues in the field.
After coming of age in Iran, from which she fled during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, Dr. Merrikh immigrated to the United States, where she attended the University of Houston and earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemical and biophysical sciences in 2002. Following this achievement, she went on to study at Brandeis University, from which she attained a PhD in molecular and cellular biology in 2009. Upon concluding her postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Merrikh accepted her first role at the University of Washington.
For her subsequent accomplishments in microbial research, Dr. Merrikh has been the recipient of various accolades, including a Director’s New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2013, an Innovation Award from the University of Washington in 2015, and a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science from the Vilcek Foundation in 2016. In accounting for her success in the field, she largely credits the influence of her parents, who instilled within her a deep and abiding dedication to education. Looking toward the future, Dr. Merrikh aspires to parlay her research toward the development of pharmaceutical compounds, with the ultimate goal of arresting bacterial evolution.