How Prof. Houra Merrikh Works – UW Graduate School Skip to content

How Prof. Houra Merrikh Works

Houra Merrikh, Assistant ProfessorHoura Merrikh

Department/program: Microbiology
Research focus: DNA Replication

In a 2016 interview, microbiologist Houra Merrik said her goal is to “be somebody who sets an example and facilitates the system in a way that people that have gone through hardships can bring their abilities to science.” Houra knows what it means to overcome adversity: born in Iran, she immigrated with her family to Turkey at age three. At 16, she moved to the U.S. without her family and put herself through community college by working at restaurants and selling cars. Now, she studies conflicts in the process of cell division: specifically, in the competing processes of replication and transmission. In 2016, she was one of three recipients of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science.


Give us a one-word description of how you work:


How do you manage your to-dos?

E-mail Tasks Feature

What are your essential apps, software or tools?

Powerpoint, Outlook, Google Docs

Where do you most often work?

On campus, in my office.

How do you manage your time?

By priority.

What is your best time-saving shortcut?

Short email responses.

What are some of your productivity strategies you’ve honed over your years in academia?

Staggering my tasks.


What mundane thing are you really exceptional at?

Sarcastic jokes

What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

A cat birthday party at a bar.

How do you recharge?

Exercise and sleep.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Six hours a night.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Follow your heart.

Who’s your support system?

My husband.

What pitfall do you consistently see students falling into?

They lack time management.

What do your most successful students do?

They work hard.

How UW Works was inspired by LifeHacker’s How I Work.

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