Giovanna Sabini-Leite

Master's Students

Master's Student

Research Interests

Giovanna is originally from Brazil and the US. She graduated cum laude and with highest honors in Biology and Latin American Studies from Smith College. As an undergraduate, Giovanna completed a thesis and traveled to Belize, Australia, and Spain to develop her interest in coral biology and ecology. 

At KAUST, Giovanna is interested in studying the interactions between the coral host and microbiome, and their contributions to the resilience and evolution of corals during rapid global change. She also seeks to investigate the potential vertical and horizontal transmission of BMCs in coral larvae and juveniles.


  • B.A., Biology and Latin American Studies, Smith College, Northampton, MA, USA, 2021

Professional Profile

  • 2021-Present: Master’s Student in Marine Microbiomes Lab, RSRC, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2020-2021: Undergraduate Honors Thesis Student in Wright Lab, Smith College, Northampton, MA, USA
  • 2019: Summer Intern, Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Program through Smith College, San Pedro, Belize

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • NAUI Open Water Diver, issued May 2019
  • Sigma Xi, Smith College chapter


  • Fulbright Scholar Finalist – Research in Recife, Brazil, 2021-2022
  • Smith College Highest Honors in Biology for undergraduate thesis, 2021
  • Smith College Amey Randall Brown Prize in Botany, 2021
  • Dean’s List – Academic Year 2017-2018, AY 2020-2021

KAUST Affiliations

  • Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
  • Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE)

Research Interests Keywords

Coral Microbiology Coral ecology Marine microbes Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMCs) Symbiont transmission Evolution Resilience Climate Change