Marko Manevski

Degree: Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences

College: Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

As a child, Marko Manevski loved riddles. As a biomedical researcher, he is still solving puzzles trying to unravel the mechanisms of respiratory diseases caused by COVID-19, cigarette smoke and viral infections.

At 18, Marko left his native Macedonia to study biology at Union College in New York. He joined the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine four years ago as a doctoral student in the lab of Professor Hitendra Chand, a pioneer in discovering new molecular entities, known as long noncoding RNAs and their role in lung biology.

When the lab received funds from the National Institutes of Health to do research on COVID-19, not everyone wanted to work on the deadly virus. But Marko eagerly agreed to help analyze the initial interaction and impact of COVID-19 on respiratory cells.

During his Ph.D. studies, Marko identified a novel pathway—a series of actions among molecules—that affects how cells in the respiratory tract respond to infection and exposure to smoke. This research could help improve current treatments for diseases like COPD and COVID-19, which affect breathing.

Marko has been a prolific researcher at FIU, contributing to 10 research publications, including three as the first author. Another two are under review. The combined impact factor of all his Ph.D. publications is over 60—a rare feat for any graduate.

He is currently weighing job opportunities to continue research on lung diseases.

Ileana Varela
Director of Media and Community Relations
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine