Aissam Ikmi is a Group Leader in the Developmental Biology Unit at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Heidelberg since October 2017. The Ikmi group studies how the interplay between genetic and environmental factors shapes animal body plans. More specifically, his research focuses on the development and regeneration of a sea anemone to understand how morphological patterns emerge in differentiated tissues. Aissam completed his postdoctoral research at Stowers Institute for Medical Research in the United States and his Ph.D. in Developmental Biology at the University of Paris XI in 2008. Aissam’s exposure to the rich diversity of sea creatures in the coastal city of Agadir, Morocco, where he grew up, sparked his lifelong interest in studying biology.