Fady Baselious


A lucky snapshot of a rainbow near Goethe University Frankfurt

"I found the Professor Dr. Mahfouz Kassem Scholarship by DAAD-Stiftung that provided an excellent chance for a three-month research stay. Hopefully this chance will help advancing my career and give me more credits for a better future."

Fady Baselious is an Egyptian PhD student who had the opportunity to spend a research period in Germany thanks to the DAAD-Stiftung's Prof. Dr. Mahfouz Kassem Scholarship.

In the following report, he gives insight into cultural and academic experiences that shaped his stay abroad:

I am writing this report to describe my exciting experience in Germany during my short terms research stay at Goethe University Frankfurt – Institute of Medicinal Chemistry, which was made possible by the generous support through the Professor Dr. Mahfouz Kassem Scholarship by the DAAD-Stiftung.

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences in 2009 from Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University. I then started working as a community pharmacist for one year after which I started my career in pharmaceutical industry. First, I worked as quality control analyst then I shifted to research and development field, and I have about 10 years of experience in analytical method development and validation.

Before I finished my bachelor’s degree, I started looking for degree leading research programs to pursue. My research interest lies mainly in pharmaceutical chemistry and drug design. However, it was not until 2012 that I was enrolled for master’s degree at Faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University due to financial circumstances. I had to establish a professional career before taking such a step. It wasn’t that easy to pursue a research based academic degree while full time employed specially when facing challenges in the research plan regarding organic chemical synthetic steps and funding and purchasing chemicals required for the research.

I finished my master’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry successfully in 2017. Then I started looking for a more scientific and research related career that would satisfy my eagerness for science for which earning a PhD degree is mandatory. I chose to focus on Germany because of its well known, respected, and research-oriented universities. Unfortunately, I was not successful until I found the Professor Dr. Mahfouz Kassem Scholarship by DAAD-Stiftung that provided an excellent chance for a three-month research stay. Hopefully this chance will help advancing my career and give me more credits for a better future.

Baselious Dino


One of the famous dinosaur sculptures of Frankfurt‘s Naturmuseum Senckenberg

I would like to give a short description of the research project and the results I obtained – till now. The research proposal aimed at the synthesis and biological evaluation of novel inhibitors for the Rpn13 regulatory particle of the macromolecular machinery-proteasome. The importance of interfering with the proteasome function lies in the consequent rapid and toxic accumulation of poly-ubiquitinated proteins triggering endoplasmic reticulum stress ER, unfolded protein response (UPR) and cell apoptosis. The fact that cancer cells need the ubiquitin proteasome pathway to permanently activate pro-tumor signal cascades, which promote cell cycle progression and prevents cell death due to abnormal stress, makes this pathway an attractive target for inhibitors development as anticancer agents.

The practical work plan proposed the synthesis of two main inhibitor scaffolds, with varying substitution groups at various positions within the molecule. During my work I deepened my knowledge with the synthetic chemistry techniques and analytical methodology. I also learned using new purification techniques like flash chromatography that I read about always in literature but never used before. The highly equipped laboratories, and the help provided by Professor Stefan Knapp group members were very much helpful to get significant portion of the compounds synthesized and purified despite the difficulties I faced in the synthesis and purification of the compounds.

Working within Professor Dr. Stefan Knapp was a delightful experience. He is reputable scientist and such a kind, helpful and understanding person as well – I will always be thankful for him that he gave me this opportunity. In this context I would like to show appreciation for the kind help I received from Dr. Thomas Hanke and thank his patience teaching me the new techniques. I also loved the interesting discussions we had, and I hope we will have more in the future.

Baselious Kirschbaum


Fady Baselious was deeply impressed by Frankfurt's nature and greenery

Frankfurt is a beautiful city. I was astonished by the nature and the green views everywhere. I was lucky as the guesthouse in which I lived had a very beautiful garden and my apartment also viewed the botanical garden of the city. I arrived at Frankfurt by the 2nd of March, the winter was dying, and the spring was starting in few days. No words can describe how pleasantly the spring presented its colorful festival with flowering plants everywhere. One thing I love to tell is that at a certain time some trees in the apartment view didn’t wear their new green and colorful cloth while most of the surrounding trees did. I was sad to see these trees like so, however, in few weeks they flourished just like their companions. Inspired by this observation and in a moment of calm mind I thought that every life has its own time to prosper and soul to flourish. Reflecting these thoughts on my case, I finally was able to get to Germany to pursue research after three years of dreaming and hard working since I finished my master’s degree in Egypt, and this was only possible by your support that I appreciate a lot.

Baselious Wagon


The Bockenheimer Warte metro station, where Fady Baselious would start his daily journey to campus

I regret that my social and cultural experience was not very rich as I expected. Restrictions due to the pandemic made it impossible for me to get involved in cultural or social events, as there were no public events and all cultural landmarks were closed. Actually, there was a Curfew for about three or four weeks which is one third of my stay period. Also, the stresses I faced due to difficulties in the research work made it difficult to get involved in the community. I spent most of my time in the laboratory for up to 16 hours daily and some days I had to work for 24 hours. During the last two months I also worked in the holidays and the weekends.

I loved Frankfurt and I wish I can come to visit this beautiful city again in better times.

As of May 2021.