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Keynote Speakers

Ajay Royyuru

Ajay Royyuru leads Healthcare & Life Sciences research at IBM. His team is actively pursuing high-quality science, developing novel technologies and achieving translational insights across this industry, including areas of cancer, cardiac, neurological, mental health, immune system, and infectious diseases. Working with institutions around the world, he is engaged in research that will advance personalized, information-based medicine. His scientific interests and active projects include; genomics, protein science, systems biology, computational neuroscience, health informatics, miniaturizing for medical devices, and nano-biotechnology. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, Forbes, Scientific American, Nature Medicine, and Nature news articles.

Andre Nel

Andre Nel is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and is Founder and Chief of the Division of Nanomedicine. Also, he is the Director of the University of California’s Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), a $48 million National Science Foundation (NSF) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded multidisciplinary and multi-institutional center for nanosafety implementation in the US. His research interests are: (i) Nanomedicine and Nanobiology, including nanomaterial therapeutic devices and the study of nanomaterial properties that lead to biocompatible and biohazardous interactions in humans and the environment; (ii) The role of air pollutants in asthma, with particular emphasis on the part of ultrafine particle-induced oxidative stress in the generation of airway inflammation and asthma. Dr. Nel serves as Associate Editor of ACS Nano, an internationally recognized journal.

Chad Mirkin

​Dr. Chad A. Mirkin is the Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University. He is a chemist and a world-renowned nanoscience expert, who has authored over 700 papers; he is an inventor on over 1,000 patents and applications worldwide (over 300 issued). Mirkin has been recognized for his accomplishments with over 120 national and international awards. These include the RUSNANOPRIZE, the Dan David Prize, the Wilhelm Exner Medal, the Sackler Prize in Convergence Research, the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, and the ACS Award for Creative Invention.  He was a Member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, Obama Administration), and one of fewer than 20 scientists, engineers, and medical doctors to be elected to all three US National Academies (National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering).  He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Materials Research Society, the American Chemical Society, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is the Founding Editor of the journal Small, and he has founded multiple companies, including AuraSense, Exicure, TERA-print, and CDJ Technologies. Mirkin holds a B.S. degree from Dickinson College and a Ph.D. degree from Penn State. He was an NSF Postdoc at MIT prior to becoming a Professor at Northwestern in 1991.

Chih-Ming Ho

Dr. Chih-Ming Ho received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He held the Ben Rich-Lockheed Martin Professor Chair until he retired in 2016 and currently is a UCLA Distinguished Research Professor. He served as UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor for Research from 2001 to 2005. His research interests include phenotypic personalized medicine (PPM), micro/nano fluidics, molecular sensors and turbulence. He was ranked by ISI as one of the top 250 most cited researchers in all engineering categories (2001-2014). Dr. Ho was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an Academician of Academia Sinica. He has received a Doctor of Engineering Honoris Causa from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Dr. Ho holds ten honorary professorships, including the Einstein Professor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Ho was elected as Fellow of AAAS, APS, AIMBE, AIAA and 3M-Nano Society

Elsa Sotiriadis

Elsa Sotiriadis is a scientist, former venture capital investor, futurist and science fiction writer (Elsa Solaris). She is interested in fixing the world by hacking the code of life. As a director at a VC firm, she helped invest in, build, and launch 25 pioneering biotech startups to transform industries across food, technology, health, and medicine. During her Ph.D. in Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London, she worked on making DNA nanorobots to stop the growth of cancer cells. Today, as a ‘Bio-Futurist’ she helped an iconic tech company harness digital biology to innovate their flagship product. She has been featured in the BBC’s science fiction show ‘Forest 404’ and took part in a workshop on self-sustaining human life in space at NASA’s Ames Research Centre.

Francoise Baylis

Françoise Baylis is a University Research Professor at Dalhousie University. She is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, as well as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Baylis was one of the organizers of, and a key participant in, the 2015 International Summit on Human Gene Editing. She is a member of the WHO expert advisory committee on Developing global standards for governance and oversight of Human Genome editing. Her most recent book is Altered Inheritance: CRISPR and the Ethics of Human Genome Editing.

George Gokel

George Gokel is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biology in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Professor Gokel’s early work was in the area of phase transfer catalysis, and he co-authored the first monograph in that field in 1978. He invented the compounds known as “lariat ethers.”  During the past ten years, Professor Gokel has pioneered the development of synthetic cation channels that function in phospholipid bilayer membranes. His research work has produced more than 300 papers and a dozen patents. He has authored, co-authored, or edited fifteen books. 

Hanadi Sleiman

Hanadi Sleiman is a Professor of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair in DNA Nanoscience at McGill University. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University and was a CNRS postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn’s laboratory at the Université Louis Pasteur. Her research group focuses on using molecule DNA as a template to assemble nanostructured materials. Sleiman is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2016), Associate Editor of J. Am. Chem. Soc., and Editorial Advisory Board member of J. Am. Chem. Soc., Chem., J. Org. Chem., and ChemBioChem. She received the McGill Principal’s Prize (2002) and the Leo Yaffe Award (2005) for Excellence in Teaching.

HRH Dr. Maha bint Mishari AlSaud

HRH Dr. Maha AlSaud is the Vice President of External Relations and Advancement at Alfaisal University (2014-present), a fully accredited NCAAA institute of higher education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. HRH Dr. Maha spearheaded the enrolment of women in 2011 and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, and Chairperson of the External Relations Advisory Board. HRH Dr. Maha is one of the founders and former Governor of American College of Physicians (ACP 2015 - 2019) – Saudi Arabia. She holds an MBBS degree from King Saud University (Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), College of Medicine (1986). She completed the Residency program at George Washington University Hospital for internal Medicine (1993). She acquired the American Board of Internal Medicine Certification (1994) and continues to hold it. She was also a Board Member at the Primary Vascular Research Institute.  She is also the President of George Washington University Medical Alumni, for Saudi Arabia and Gulf region and she is the Lead Co-Chair of the Taskforce #9 “Migration and Young Societies” at G20 Saudi Arabia 2020.

Ian Campbell

Ian Campbell is  VP of Innovation & Economic Development and Executive Director of Special Projects- Office of the President. He collaborates with the University researchers and leadership to help accelerate the digital economy in the Kingdom. He also supports the University’s forward vision to leverage KAUST science and innovation to make an impact beyond the walls of the campus itself, and to create collaborations and identify opportunities where KAUST can contribute. The aim of the Special Projects is to convene minds and resources together to work on impactful projects and to deliver solutions to benefit the wider Kingdom and beyond.

Career before joining KAUST: Executive Chair of Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, in 2020. He also directed Health and Life Sciences. Led the initiative to secure Covid-19 response package from the British government in 2020, to support thousands of UK businesses to survive and thrive through the pandemic.

Dr. Campbell has extensive entrepreneurial and business experience in the healthcare sector. Before Innovate UK, he was CEO of Arquer Diagnostics, which focuses on bladder and prostate cancer diagnosis. Before this, he spent 15 years in a variety of executive management roles within the health and life science sector.

He was recognized in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s New Year Honors List and was appointed officer of the order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to innovation.

Jonathan Sessler

Jonathan Sessler is a professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin. He is notable for his pioneering work on expanded porphyrins and their applications to biology and medicine. He is a co-founder of Pharmacyclics, Inc., a company that works with expanded porphyrins, and Anionics, Inc., which develops anion recognition chemistry. Pharmacyclics was sold to AbbVie for $21 billion in 2015.

Kimoon Kim

Kimoon Kim is a university distinguished a professor at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) and the director of the Center for Self-assembly and Complexity (CSC), Institute for Basic Science (IBS). He received his Ph.D. from Standford University and studied chemistry at Seoul National University. His research focuses on developing novel functional materials and devices based on supramolecular chemistry. In particular, his group has been working on a wide variety of functional materials based on cucurbiturils, a family of pumpkin-shaped macrocyclic molecules, organic or metal-organic porous materials, and self-assembled nanostructured polymer materials. His work has been recognized by several awards, including Izatt-Christensen Award (2012).

Mark Kendall

Mark Kendall's innovations have generated about $2 Billion in value in healthcare. He has authored more than 200 refereed publications and being an inventor on more than 130 patents (of which more than 70 have been granted so far). While at the University of Oxford, he contributed as an inventor of the biolistics technology, which was commercialized by PowderJect (sold to Chiron for $1 Billion in 2003) and then with PowderMed (the technology transfer company) purchased by Pfizer for $400 million in 2006. In 2018 he joined The Australian National University – and he is seconded fully as CEO into WearOptimo, which's mission is to rapidly advance the next-generation Microwearable devices for precision medicine with an impact on a global scale. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE). He serves on the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Biotechnology. Mark has received numerous awards, such as the 2012 Rolex Laureate for pioneering efforts to expand knowledge and improve human life. 

Natasha McEnroe

Natasha McEnroe is the Keeper of Medicine at the Science Museum in  London. Her previous post was Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, before this, she was Museum Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, and Curator of the Galton Collection at University College London.  She has been Curator of Dr. Johnson’s House in London’s Fleet Street and has also worked for the National Trust and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Natasha was co-editor of The Hospital in the Oatfield – The Art of Nursing in the First World War (2014); The Tyranny of Treatment: Samuel Johnson, His Friends and Georgian Medicine (2003); and editor of Medicine: An Imperfect Science(2019) and co-editor of The Medicine Cabinet(2019). Her research interests focus on 18th and 19th-century medical humanities. Natasha is a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Barbers.

Nicholas Peppas

Nicholas Peppas works on a multidisciplinary approach of blending modern molecular and cellular biology with engineering principles to design the next-generation of medical systems and devices for patient treatment.  He is the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Pediatrics, at the University of Texas at Austin. His work focuses on nanomedicine, biomaterials, drug delivery, bionanotechnology and polymer physics. He has 1,600 publications with 128,000 citations and H=166. Peppas holds a Dipl. Eng. from the NTU of Athens (1971), an Sc.D. from MIT (1973), and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Ghent, Parma, Athens, Patras, Ljubljana, Thessaloniki, Santiago de Compostela, and the National Technical University of Athens. Also, he is an Honorary Professor at Sichuan University, Beihang University, PLA Hospital and Medical School, and Peking Medical Union College in China. 

Rene Frydman

Rene Frydman is part of the Faculty of Medicine at University Paris XI and is the Head of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Antoine Beclere Hospital. Formerly, Professor Frydman held several national positions including Member of the National Committee of Human Rights, Member of the National Committee of Ethics for the Sciences of Life and Health, or Counselor of the Minister of Research. He received the honor of Chevalier of the French Order Of Merit and is an Officer of the French Legion d’Honneur. His particular areas of interest are in biomedical ethics - he was active in the preparation of the law on bioethics - and Gynecology and Obstetrics, including infertility and high-risk pregnancy. His work in infertility led in 1982 to the first baby born as a result of in vitro fertilization in France.

Rifat Atun

Rifat Atun is a professor of Global Health Systems at Harvard University and the Faculty Chair of the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program. Professor Atun's research focuses on health system transformation and innovation. Previously, he served as a member of the Executive Management Team of the Global Fund as Director of Strategy, Performance, and Evaluation where he chaired the panel that oversaw annual investments of ~US$3-4 billion. He was also a Professor of International Health Management at Imperial College London. Prof. Rifat has published over 350 papers in leading journals and has advised more than 30 governments on health policy and health system reform and has worked with the World Bank, WHO and leading organizations such as Medtronic, Novartis, Roche, and Merck & Co.


Abdul-Hamid Emwas

Abdul-Hamid Emwas, is a staff scientist at Imaging and Characterization Core Lab, KAUST. Dr. Emwas received a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, and his M.Sc. in Biophysical Chemistry, from the University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. He graduated earlier with B.Sc. (Chemistry), from the University of Bir-Zeit, Bir-Zeit, Palestine. His research interest is in developing new NMR and EPR approaches for protein and DNA structural analysis. Currently, Dr. Emwas’ research focus is on developing, optimizing and standardizing novel NMR metabolomics approaches that can be used as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for human diseases.

Abdulrahman H Sandokji

Eng. Abdulrahman Sandokji, An industrial Engineer from King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals. Documentary filmmaker. He has directed and produced several TV shows and documentaries that have won many awards and viewerships. Most notably: Phosphine, Alzheimers, Jaleed and The Cave.

Adeel Ahmad

Dr. Adeel is the Medical Director and Head of Family Medicine at KAUST Health. He has a keen interest in healthcare quality, research, health promotion and evidence-based medicine.

Ahmad Alonazi

Dr. Ahmad Alonazi, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Wateen.

Ahmed Al-Barrak

​Professor of Medical Informatics at The College of Medicine, King Saud University. The founding Chairman of the Medical Informatics Unit and the Director for E-learning at The College of Medicine, the former Director of Computer and Information Department (CIO) in King Saud University Medical City. The founding dean for The Health Sciences College at the Saudi Electronic University, and former vice president for Quality Planning and development. Currently, the chairman for the Public Health Program at King Saud University, and the chairman for the Medical Informatics and E-learning unit in the College of Medicine, in addition, the Chairman for The Health Informatics Research Chair in King Saud University. Area of research and interest includes e-Health, e-Learning, e-Education, Medical Education, Health Informatics, Nursing Informatics, Hospitals Information Systems, Quality Management, Health care Planning and Development, Academic and Executive Coaching. Prof Albarrak has been awarded several excellence prizes and awards for his research, projects, and services including the first award in information technology projects, first award in engineering projects by Riyadh techno Vale, KSU. Chairman and scientific committee member for national and international symposiums and conferences. 

Aida Rivera

Aida Rivera, PE is a licensed professional engineer, educator, design consultant and co-founder of d.heritage2tech. Beginning her career at NASA she has worked in risk analysis modeling, project management, structural, civil, earthquake and mechanical engineering. Aida earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and M.S. in Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering from Stanford University followed by postgraduate research in Mechanical Engineering at Monash University in Australia as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellow. 


Ali Alfrshuti

Ali Alfrshuti is a Prototyping Technician at the Prototyping Core Lab at KAUST.

Ali Raza

Ali Raza is a Software Developer in the Bio-Ontology Research Group at Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC).   He has 7+ years of professional experience in the design and development of distributed and semantic web systems. He also has 5 years of experience working with Healthcare IT systems. He is interested in applications of data sciences including standard data models, data interoperability and data analytics.

Andrew Vasily

Andy Vasily is a performance/cognitive coach, workshop leader, and podcaster based at KAUST in Saudi Arabia. Through his work, Andy has committed himself to better understanding how to design and deliver more meaningful learning experiences related to well-being, growth, performance, and mindset.
He has been a keynote speaker, presenter, and has run workshops both virtually and in person in more than 30 countries around the world over the past ten years. Andy was also the moderator for the WEP Resilience panel discussion during the WEP 2022 Conference held last year. He is at KAUST with his wife, Neila Steele, and their two boys, Eli and Tai.

Antonio Adamo

Antonio Adamo is an Assistant Professor of Bioscience at KAUST. Professor Adamo’s research interests focus on the study of the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms dysregulated in metabolic disorders such as Insulin Resistance (IR) and Type II Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). His team relies on the use of the innovative reprogramming technique to derive induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from fibroblasts obtained from large cohorts of patients and healthy donors. 

Arwa Raies

Arwa Raies is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in the United Kingdom. She works with the Open Targets consortium, a large-scale, public-private partnership between several research institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Arwa graduated from KAUST with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. She earned her Master's and Bachelor's in Computer Science from KAUST and Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, respectively. At KAUST, Dr. Raies was a member of the Computational Bioscience Research Center. She has led research projects in the domains of machine learning, natural language processing, and computational toxicology. Her research interests broadly concern bioinformatics, cheminformatics, data mining, and health care.

Basma Abdulkarim

Basma Abdulkarim brings hands-on experience with implementing Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and National Transformation Plan. She leads teams creating innovative strategies for developing Saudi Arabia’s cultural sector, and has built intercultural programs to deepen global communication about Saudi Arabia’s culture and history.

Based in Riyadh, Basma previously served in Saudi Arabia’s new Ministry of Culture, where she managed the Culture Fund initiative to develop the Ministry’s strategy and operating model. She led the international relations initiatives for the Saudi Film Council portfolio and developed investment strategies for Saudi and international companies specializing in film production and content development. Basma was the extra’s casting coordinator on the production team for “Born a King”, the first

Saudi/international feature-length film. Prior to her work at the Ministry of Culture, Basma served in Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an international affairs officer at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Berlin. She managed investment cases for Saudi-German companies and laid the groundwork for public relations strategies with international bureaus for culture and economic development. She enabled a new bilateral communications platform for German and Saudi companies seeking investment opportunities and planned intercultural dialogue programs bringing together German and Saudi leaders. Currently, Basma is a senior associate at Jones Group International. She also is the Director of Operations for the Jones Group Riyadh office, where she is the primary connection between the Riyadh team and the USA office on all administrative, business and operational matters; and the interface with all local business partners and government relations. Basma earned her Master’s degree in Management Science from the European Business School in Wiesbaden and her bachelor’s degree at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh. She is a graduate of the Diplomats Training Program of the Federal Foreign Office in Germany. Basma speaks Arabic, English, German and Portuguese.

Benjamin Stevens

Ben Stevens is Head of Digital and Social Media at KAUST, devising and leading content strategy across KAUST’s primary social media channels. He also co-hosts Sciencetown, the KAUST podcast, with Nicholas Demille. Before moving to KAUST, he worked in communications for both UCL and King's College London and spent five years as an agency Senior Editor, creating websites and print publications for blue-chip and third sector clients. He has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of York and began his career as a broadcast journalist at the BBC and in the commercial radio sector.


Christian Jensen

Christian Frøkjær-Jensen is an Assistant Professor at KAUST, where he tries to keep his lab focused on developing methods for synthetic genome biology in C. elegans. His scientific education started with physics and biophysics (University of Copenhagen - B.S. in 2000 and M.S. in 2002), continued with neuroscience (the University of Oregon, M.S. in 2004) and concluded with health sciences (University of Copenhagen Medical School, Ph.D. 2008). His post-doctoral work began with projects related to developing genome editing technologies in Erik Jorgensen's laboratory at HHMI/University of Utah (2008 - 2014). "Bugs" in how transgenes were expressed led to projects with Andrew Fire at Stanford University (2014-2017) on how non-coding DNA may play an important role in cellular self-recognition. Recently, he has worked on improving an engineered system for non-Mendelian inheritance where progeny inherit exclusively paternal DNA. 


Christian Doonan

Christian Doonan received his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne and then undertook Post Doctoral research at UCLA. He is now Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials. Selected awards: Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, Chemical Society of Japan International Lectureship award, Japan-Australia Emerging Leaders Award. His research interests include applications of porous materials for heterogeneous catalysis and biotechnology. In particular, the encapsulation of biomacromolecules to enhance their stability in conditions required for commercial biocatalysis and non-cryogenic storage and transport.

Christian Serre

Christian Serre got his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry at the University of Versailles in 1999 and did a Post-doc fellowship in Princeton. He became a CNRS researcher in 2001 at Institut Lavoisier de Versailles in France (ILV) and then research director in 2008. In 2016, he created at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris and ESPCI - within the frame of the Paris Science Letters (PSL) University - a new laboratory entirely dedicated to porous solids and their applications. Christian is a highly cited scientist since 2010 with more than 330 publications (h factor > 90) and 20 patents. He has received numerous awards, such as the CNRS Bronze medal and the Berthelot Medal and Prix Fondé de l’état from the French Academy of Sciences.

Claus-Michael Lehr

Claus-Michael Lehr is a Professor at Saarland University as well as co-founder and head of the department Drug Delivery at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS).  Lehr has also been the co-founder of Across Barriers GmbH and acts as CEO of PharmBioTec GmbH, a not-for-profit contract research subsidiary of Saarland University. The research theme of his team is non-invasive drug delivery across biological barriers, in particular, the epithelia of the gastrointestinal tract, the skin, and the lungs. Recently, this has expanded to microbial barriers. He is (co)author of more than 350 papers with >12.000 citations (h‐index = 66). Recently, the British magazine “The Medicine Maker” rated him, for the third time, as one of the top 100 most influencing drug researchers in the world.

Dalila Bensaddek

Dalila Bensaddek obtained her Ph.D. in mass spectrometry at the Michael Barber Centre for mass spectrometry, in FTMS (high-resolution MS) working on single peptides and single purified proteins. Then Dr. Bensaddek worked on proteomics and LC-MS in Geneva Switzerland (Denis Hochstrasser) and phospho-proteomics in Boston (Hanno Steen) before coming back to Europe to do high throughput proteomics in Dundee, where she managed the quantitative proteomics laboratory and expanded by experience in all things proteomics including on model organisms, cell lines, and stem cells. Finally, Dr. Dalila moved to work as an application specialist with Bruker in life sciences and proteomics before joining KAUST, where she is currently in-charge of set-up MS-based metabolomics platform.

Dimitrios Kleftogiannis

Dr. Dimitrios Kleftogiannis obtained his Diploma in Computer Science and Engineering (DEng), and his MSc in Bioinformatics from the University of Patras. In 2016 he earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at KAUST under the supervision of professor Panos Kalnis, and the mentorship of Professor Vladimir Bajic. After his Ph.D. he conducted postdoctoral research at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). He is currently affiliated with the Department of Informatics of the University of Bergen (UiB), and the Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO) of the same university. In his work, he combines multi-omics biological datasets with machine learning and other computational approaches to tackle emerging problems in cancer research. He is also investigating the use of liquid biopsies to deliver better cancer diagnosis and personalized cancer medicine. During his research career, Dimitrios has been established many international collaborations, and currently, he holds an honorary research appointment at the Centre for Evolution and Cancer within the Institute of Cancer Research in London. He has co-authored several research articles, and his work has been published in journals from different disciplines including biology, medicine, and informatics. 

Dr. Ali Alhanif

Cardiologist Medical City in Jeddah

Eduardo Gorron

Eduardo Gorron is a microbiologist from Colombia and a former student of the MSc in Chemical and Biological Engineering program at KAUST, from which he graduated. After which, he worked in an algae biotechnology project in SABIC CRI at KAUST. He then moved to Colombia where he lectured Biotechnology in different universities. He is now studying his Ph.D. on recombinant protein production at The University of Queensland, Australia. He is involved in a project to produce recombinant collagen and strategies to engineer human collagen to enhance wound healing and other healing processes in the body.

Fadwa Attiga

Dr. Fadwa Attiga is a cancer researcher and a founding member of Global Oncology Inc., a private equity-owned company aiming to establish comprehensive affordable quality cancer care centers in underserved markets both in Africa and Asia. Previously, she was the Chief Research Officer of the Evercare Group that manages $1 billion health fund in Asia and Africa.  As the Chief Research Officer of the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan, she led efforts to establish several programs in translational and clinical research that helped enroll patients in international industry-sponsored clinical trials. She spearheaded efforts to establish the first healthcare research think tank in the Arab World at the King Hussein Institute for Biotechnology and Cancer in collaboration with the USA National Cancer Institute and the Pharma industry. The research spanned bioethics, health economics, medical anthropology, and health policy to help shape the cancer control plans and improve cancer early detection in several MENA countries. Dr. Attiga is a pioneer in promoting research initiatives in cancer registries, biobanks, and bioinformatics to evaluate cancer care outcomes and its cost-effectiveness in local populations. She holds a Ph.D. in Oncology from the George Washington University, USA. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) and a Project Management Professional (PMP).

Faisal Nawab

Faisal Nawab is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at UC Santa Cruz. He received his Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara where he won the Computer Science Department best dissertation award. His research lies at the intersection of Big Data management and distributed Cloud Computing systems. More precisely, he works on data management systems that accelerate and support data science and global connectivity, especially in the domains of autonomous, mobile applications and the Internet of Things.

Gang Bao

Gang Bao is the Foyt Family Chair Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation of School of Engineering, Rice University. He is also the Director of the Nanomedicine Center for Nucleoprotein Machines at Rice. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Advancement in Science, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Physical Society, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering Society. His research focuses on the development of nanotechnology and biomolecular engineering tools for biological and disease studies, including multifunctional magnetic nanoparticles and engineered nucleases such as CRISPR/Cas9. These approaches have been applied to the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer, and genome editing approaches for treating single-gene disorders.

Hosam Zowawi

Hosam Mamoon Zowawi, Ph.D., is a clinical microbiologist and infectious diseases scientist interested in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dr. Zowawi and his collaborators at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States have founded the first region-wide surveillance program to monitor the spread and emergence of antimicrobial resistance in the Gulf States. As a clinical microbiologist, he recognizes the need to develop more rapid diagnostic tools to aid the rapid implementation of targeted medical management. Hence, he is also focusing on developing innovative tests to identify infectious diseases rapidly. He has joined cave expeditions with the belief that it will provide valuable understanding about the evolution of microbes and antimicrobial resistance. He has received multiple awards and recognitions, such as the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship, or Next Generation Leader by TIME Magazine, among others.

Ivan Barisic

Dr. Ivan Barisic is a senior scientist at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH. He holds an MSc and Ph.D. degree in molecular biology from the University of Vienna. His research focuses on the development of innovative detection technologies for antibiotic resistance mechanisms. He is an expert regarding the hybridization behavior of oligonucleotides and his research on this topic resulted in the development of the first highly specific solid-support based enzymatic DNA detection reaction using a novel oligomeric DNA oligonucleotide structure. A patent (EP14185938.9) was filed for these supramolecular structures and it is the key technology in the H2020 project FAPIC he initiated. In addition, he coordinates the H2020 FETopen project MARA that aims to develop autonomous DNA-based sensor molecules (AUDENAs; patent filed EP15196819.5) for pathogen identification. Additionally, he is developing dynamic DNA nanostructures within the framework of MARA.


Ivan Viola

Ivan Viola is an Associate Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia. In his research, Viola investigates methods that automate the visualization design process. Basal new technologies he then applies to various application domains, such as ultrasound diagnostics, geology, or sub-milimeter biology. Viola has graduated from TU Wien, Austria in 2005 and moved for postdoctoral fellowship to the University of Bergen, Norway, where he was gradually promoted to the rank of Professor. In 2013 he has been awarded a Vienna Science and Technology Fund grant to establish his own research group back at TU Wien, Austria. After several years of research on visualization and computer graphics techniques for multiscale biological structures in Vienna, Viola has co-founded the startup company called Nanographics, to commercialize nanovisualization technologies. Viola he has joined KAUST to multiply his investigative efforts, for delivering technologies that make visual, in-silico life possible.

Jeremiah Gassensmith

Jeremiah Gassensmith is a University Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He earned his bachelors degree at Indiana University and his Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame, where he studied the synthesis of sterically shielded near-infrared luminescent dyes. After obtaining his Ph.D., he traveled to Northwestern University, where he investigated a diverse array of topics, including gas sequestration by cyclodextrin based metal-organic frameworks. He has received several awards, such a new doctoral investigator award by the American Chemical Society's Petroleum Research Fund, and an NSF CAREER award.

Khaled Salama

WEP 2021 Chair. Khaled Salama is professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and currently the Associate Dean at KAUST's Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division (CEMSE). Professor Salama's research interests cover a variety of interdisciplinary aspects of electronic circuit design and semiconductors' fabrication. He is engaged in developing devices, circuits, systems, and algorithms to enable inexpensive analytical platforms for a variety of industrial, environmental, and biomedical monitoring applications. Recently he has been working on neuromorphic circuits for brain emulation.

Khalil Moussi

Ph.D. Student, Electrical Engineering at KAUST



Laura McCulloch

Dr. Laura is a Family Medicine Consultant at KAUST Health. She qualified in the UK, holding family medicine and surgical posts.

Leaf Huang

Leaf Huang, is the Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor, Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Huang‚Äôs research has been in the area of gene therapy and targeted drug delivery. He has pioneered the liposome non-viral vector and has designed and manufactured the cationic lipid vector for the first non-viral clinical trial in 1992. His current work centers on nanoparticle vectors for gene transfer in tumor and liver. He also continues research in establishing a ligand targeted delivery system for cDNA, mRNA, siRNA, proteins and peptides for tumor growth inhibition and for vaccines in treating cancer and infected diseases. 

Majid Al-Madi

Dr. Almadi obtained an MBBS degree from King Saud University and completed his training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He also completed two years of training in therapeutic endoscopy and EUS at McGill and obtained a Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology as well as training in the Clinical Investigator program from the same university.
Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at King Saud University and the Vice Dean for Postgraduate Studies and Research at the College of Medicine at King Saud University. Dr. Almadi is the current president of the Saudi Gastroenterology Association and is an Associate Editor for the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology (SJG) and deputy editor of the Journal of Nature and Science of Medicine (JNSM).

Malak Abed Al-Thagafi

Dr. Malak Abed AlThagafi is an American board-certified physician-scientist in Clinical Pathology, Anatomical Pathology, Neuropathology, and Molecular Genetics Pathology. She studied and worked in world-renowned universities like Georgetown, University of California San Francisco, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard. She is a national and international awards winner in her field and published over 100 original and conference papers. She is selected in 2018 and 2019 as one of the most powerful people around the globe in Pathology and lab medicine by the British pathologist magazine. Currently, She is the director and primary investigator of the Saudi Human genome lab at King Fahad medical city (KFMC) in Riyadh, an Assistant research professor at King Abdulaziz city of science and technology (KACST) and founder of CID ( Genomic Startup Company). Her hope is to improve the application of personalized medicine and targeted therapy.

Mardson Mcquay

Mardson McQuay is Associate General Counsel and Senior IP Attorney at KAUST. He is a former tenured professor of Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University and Senior VP and Chief IP Counsel at CGG, France. He also spent four years as an Associate in a law firm and five years as a Senior IP attorney at GE. He has been an invited lecturer on the topic of IP all over the world.

Marie-Laure Boulot

Marie-Laure Boulot is the Enrichment Office director at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). She sets strategies, oversees program development and positions KAUST's enrichment programs in Saudi Arabia and in the international landscape. She graduated from Paris Dauphine University where she studied finances and marketing. Marie-Laure joined KAUST as a founding staff member in 2009. Starting with the inaugural 2010 Winter Enrichment Program, Marie-Laure has successfully spearheaded the development and expansion of the University's enrichment programs that expand the minds of not only students but also faculty, staff and community members and in-Kingdom guests.

Marie-Sophie L

Marie-Sophie L has been Naturopath for 30 years and Raw Chef since 2012 after studying vegan and raw culinary art in California, Marie-Sophie L has become Naturawchef®, the leading expert in vegetable and no-cooking cuisine. She has raised raw food to a gastrawnomic level. She trains the young chefs of the Ferrandi International School, and has prepared signature dishes in a menu l'instant Cru in the prestigious restaurant l'Alcazar in Paris. She shares her know-how and offers online training on her website linstantcru.com Marie-Sophie L creates innovative products including "La Bonne Foi", a 100% vegetable foie gras like that received the 2019 Agri-food Trophy in the culinary art and innovation category. Her books "L'instant Cru" and "L'alimentation crue, naturellement healthy", reference books in France, are regularly reprinted by Albin Michel. "Marie-Sophie L. renews French gastronomy in an incredible...but raw way! "PARIS MATCH 2014

Mark Ptashne

Mark Ptashne is a molecular biologist and the Ludwig Chair of Molecular Biology at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center. Ptashne earned his PhD from Harvard in 1968, after which he joined the faculty of Harvard and became chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1980. In 1997 he left Harvard for MSK. In 1997, he was awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. The focus of his scientific career has been gene regulation. Ptashne was the first scientist to demonstrate specific binding between protein and DNA, and his lifelong work has been the elucidation of how the yeast transcriptional activator Gal4 works. He was the originator of the "ball and stick" model of transcription factor function, demonstrating in bacteria and in yeast that they typically consist of separable regions that mediate DNA binding and interaction with transcriptional activators or repressors.

Maxat Kulmanov

Maxat Kulmanov is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Bio-Ontology Research Group at Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC).  His research is related to knowledge representation and reasoning, machine learning, neural networks, semantic web, and algorithms.  He is interested in knowledge discovery and data integration using artificial intelligence and semantic web technologies in biology and biomedicine.

Meriem Laleg

Associate Professor in Electrical Eng'g, Electrical Engineering

Michael L. Berumen

Mike received a Zoology degree from the University of Arkansas in 2001. He then attended James Cook University in Australia to pursue graduate studies in coral reef ecology, specializing in life history and ecology of butterflyfishes. He was awarded the PhD in 2007. Mike accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he focused on larval connectivity in coral reef fishes. During his time in Woods Hole, Mike began working in the Red Sea in 2008 in partnership with a new university in Saudi Arabia - the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Mike joined KAUST in July 2009 as a founding faculty member in the Red Sea Research Center. Mike has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and 8 book chapters, and he has co-edited two books. His research focuses on advancing general understanding of Red Sea coral reefs and more broadly making contributions to movement ecology, which is a critical aspect of developing conservation plans in the marine environment. He is particularly interested in connectivity questions ranging from larval dispersal to large distance migrations of adult fishes.

Mohamed Bahloul

Ph.D Student, Electrical Engineering at KAUST

Mona Alsomali

Mona currently works as a Sr. Microbiologist at the DOW company. Despite her current role which deals mainly with the industrial microbiology area, her passion was and still is in clinical microbiology and to understand the relationship between humans and the microbes around us, and how these microorganisms especially the ones that reside in our gut contributes to our health and well-being.

Ph.D. in Bioscience (microbial genomics ) from KAUST .

MSc in Biotech from the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

BSc in Medical laboratory technology form King Abdulaziz university. Jeddah.

Muhammad Shafiq

Dr. Shafiq is a Family Medicine Consultant at KAUST Health. He studied in Pakistan and the UK. He has a personal interest in dermatology and skin surgery.

Myraida Rivera

Myraida Rivera, AIA is a licensed architect, civil engineer, project manager, and design consultant. Prior to co-founding  d.heritage2tech she worked in pharmaceutical, commercial, residential, and product design projects. At KAUST, she co-founded its Makerspace (currently ProtoLab) and recently instructed KAUST’s first FabAcademy. Myraida received an undergraduate degree in Environmental Design and graduate degrees in Architecture from the University of Puerto Rico and Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering and Management from Stanford University.

Naeemullah Khan

Prof. Naeemullah Khan received his master's and Ph.D. degrees from KAUST in 2014 and 2018 respectively in Electrical Engineering. From 2018 to 2021 he was part of the Torr vision group (TVG) at the Department of Engineering, University of Oxford.
The primary focus of his research is the theoretical evaluation of deep networks. He has also been involved in several courses and summer schools on machine learning and artificial intelligence at the University of Oxford. Prof. Khan joined KAUST as an Instructional Faculty in 2022 and has been conducting training in AI at KAUST and in the Kingdom.

Najeh Kharbatia

Najeh Kharbatia is a staff scientist in the organic team at KAUST’s Analytical Core Laboratory. He earned a master degree in mass spectrometry from Stevens Institute of Technology (USA). Najeh joined KAUST in 2013 coming from Agilent Technologies. He employs GC/MS and LC/MS based metabolomics platforms to study metabolites distribution in plants, bacteria, parasites, and human’ tissues and fluids. Najeh Kharbatia was the first to lead the effort in establishing metabolomics and lipidomics capabilities at ACL to support KAUST researchers.  

Nasser Al-Jehani

Dr. Nasser Aljehani is a Family Medicine Physician and Clinical Informatician at King Fahad Medical City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
He graduated from King Saud University Faculty of Medicine in 2008. He then finished a year of fellowship in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety from Baylor College of Medicine in the United States, where he worked with the Senior Vice President of Performance Improvement. He was granted the American Board of Family Medicine after he finished his training at Texas Tech University in the United States, where he also served as Chief Resident. During his year as Chief Resident, he designed and implemented a new on-call system that focused on better and safer care for patients as well as improved the training experience for the residents.
After his residency, he joined The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the United States as a fellow where he finished a two-year fellowship in Clinical Informatics. He accomplished multiple modules implementations and quality projects that focused on patient safety and lowering cost. Currently, he is leading the implementation of Epic system, the best ranked Electronic Medical Record in KLAS, in King Fahad Medical City, the largest medical city in the Middle East.
Dr. Aljehani is interested in driving value-based clinical care through leveraging technology and the use of data in medicine.

Nasser Mohiuddin

Nasser Mohiuddin is a Research Data Storage Specialist working with Systems, Storage and Automation Team (SSAT) group at KAUST IT. He has vast experience in research engagement, automation systems, web technologies, database management and application development. At KAUST he is currently working with researchers and students with their data storage needs and to help them understand IT (information technology) better by organizing workshops, lunch & learn and other learning sessions.

Neila Steele

Neila Steele and Andy Vasily are both international educators who have worked at fully authorized IB schools in 5 different countries over the past 18 years (Japan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, and Saudi Arabia). 

Neila first developed a passion for health and wellness when she was a registered nurse. This passion led her to pursue a career in the field of international education. She is a learning support teacher at The KAUST School and loves to present and lead workshops in the areas of mental health and wellness. She has led workshops in Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America and the Middle East over the past 10 years. 

Both Andy and Neila have their own mindfulness podcast and have devoted themselves to sharing the powerful effects that mindfulness has on promoting greater social, emotional, and physical wellness.

Nicholas Demille

Nicholas Demille is the head of University Editorial Services - the KAUST team responsible for publishing the official English language social channels, website, The Beacon and The Lens. Before joining KAUST he worked as an agency copywriter for numerous Fortune 100 brands. He also lived with the Maasai as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. Demille earned a master's degree in Global Journalism from Indiana University

Niveen M. Khashab

Niveen M. Khashab is an Associate Professor in the Physical Sciences and Engineering Division at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). During her doctoral studies at the University of Florida, Prof. Khashab trained in organic chemistry in the laboratory of Prof. Alan R. Katritzky. Prof. Khashab received the Crow award for organic innovation in 2006 and AlMarai award for excellence in nanotechnology in the Middle East region in 2013. She is also the 2017 recipient of the L’Oreal-Unesco international women in science award. Her current efforts focus on the design, synthesis, and applications of organic-inorganic hybrid materials that are porous and dynamically controlled by stimuli (pH, light, magnet, enzymes….).

Oliver Hobert

Dr. Oliver Hobert is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University and holds secondary appointments in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and the Department of Systems Biology at Columbia University Medical Center. He also is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He did his graduate work with Gerhard Krauss at the University of Bayreuth and Axel Ullrich at the Max Planck Insitute for Biochemistry in Germany and did his postdoc with Gary Ruvkun at Harvard Medical School on Boston. He has been on the faculty at Columbia University since 1999. He is a recipient of the Mossman Award, the Jacob Javits Award and is an elected fellow of the AAAS.

Paolo Falcaro

Paolo Falcaro is a university professor in Bio-based Materials Technology at the Graz University of Technology. He works in the field of self-assembled materials, film deposition and crystal engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Bologna University. He has led a research team engineering porous crystals, related inorganic- and bio-composites at CSIRO, Australia. His research focuses mostly on metal organic frameworks (MOFs), mesoporous materials, and functional nanoparticles for application to sensing, environmental remediation, and biotechnology. He develops new crystal growth methodologies and self-assembly strategies to design novel biomacromolecule-based composites for bio-catalysis and bio-medicine.

Philip Gale

Philip Gale is a Professor of Chemistry and Head of School at the University of Sydney. His research interests include all aspects of the supramolecular chemistry of anions but in particular their transmembrane transport. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. He then joined Prof. Jonathan Sessler’s group at the University of Texas at Austin as Fulbright Scholar. He returned to the UK to a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 1997 moving to a lectureship at the University of Southampton in 1999. He was promoted to Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry in 2007 and served as Head of the School of Chemistry between 2010 and 2016.

Pierre Magistretti

Pierre J. Magistretti received his MD in 1979 from the University of Geneva and his Ph.D. in Biology in 1982 from UCSD. He is Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Division at Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering at KAUST, Professor  Emeritus at the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL and at the Department of Psychiatry at UNIL/CHUV. Pierre J. Magistretti’s laboratory has discovered some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the coupling between neuronal activity and energy consumption by revealing the key role that glial cells, in particular astrocytes, play in this physiological process. These findings are particularly relevant for understanding the origin of the signals detected by functional brain imaging, and are revealing a role of astrocytes in neuronal plasticity and neuroprotection. He is the author of over 240 publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has given over 70 invited lectures during the past five years. He has an h-index of 93 and since 2018 he is on the Clarivate list of highly cited scientists.  He has been elected at the International Chair 2007-2008 of the Collège de France, Paris. He is a member of Academia Europaea and of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. Among other recognitions, Pierre Magistretti has been awarded the Camillo Golgi Medal Award, the Emil Kraepelin Professorship, the Goethe Award of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Ott Prize of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. He shared with David Attwell and Marcus Raichle the 2016 IPSEN Foundation Prize. Pierre Magistretti is an honorary member of the Chinese Association of Physiological Sciences. He is the Past-President (2002-2004) of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), and Past-President (2014-2019) of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO). He is on the Board of Trustees of HFSPO and a Fellow of the American College of Psychopharmacology. He is and has been a member of several academic scientific advisory boards including the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation

Ramatoulie Jack

Dr. Rama is a Family Medicine Consultant at KAUST Health. She studied in the UK and specialises in child health.

Rand Qoj

Dr. Rand is a Family Medicine Consultant at KAUST Health. She qualified in Iraq and specializes in Family Medicine.

Robert Hoehndorf

​Robert Hoehndorf is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal. His research focuses on the applications of symbolic AI in biology and biomedicine, with a particular emphasis on integrating and analyzing heterogeneous, multimodal data. Robert has contributed to the PhenomeNET system for ontology-based prioritization of disease genes using model organism phenotypes, the AberOWL ontology repository, and the DeepGO system for protein function prediction. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Biomedical Semantics, BMC Bioinformatics, Applied Ontology, and editorial board member of the journal Data Science. He published over 90 papers in journals and international conferences.

Sandra Katakalea

Sandra Katakalea is an HR & Organizational Development Professional with 20 years of experience and expertise in all facets of HR, leadership and talent development. Her experience involves occupying management roles in the banking and telecommunications sectors while at KAUST, she is Head of Talent Management, supporting the development of staff by designing and resourcing learning and development solutions along with the provision of consulting and coaching.

Soren-Peter Olesen

Prof. Søren-Peter Olesen is a professor at the University of Copenhagen Medical School and the CEO of the Danish National Research Foundation. He is trained as a medical doctor and an electronics engineer. Prof. Olesen's research has focused on the membrane proteins responsible for the fast electric signaling in the heart, muscle, and brain. Søren-Peter Olesen has been involved in starting up and developing several pharma and device companies as co-founder, CEO, scientific director, and board member.

Sridevi Sarma

Sridevi Sarma received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in 1994; and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1997 and 2006. From 2000-2003 she took a leave to start a data analytics company. From 2006-2009, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT. She is now an Associate Professor at the Institute for Computational Medicine, Department of Biomedical Engineering, at Johns Hopkins University. Her research includes modeling, estimation, and control of neural systems using electrical stimulation. She is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Careers at the Scientific Interface Award, the Krishna Kumar New Investigator Award from the North American Neuromodulation Society and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the Whiting School of Engineering Robert B. Pond Excellence in Teaching Award.

Takashi Gojobori

Prof. Gojobori is a molecular biologist, he is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006) and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2005). In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Prof. Gojobori as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He has received the Gaetano Salvatore Gold Medal from Italy (2004). He was awarded the Kihara Memorial Foundation Academic Award in 1995 and the Purple Ribbon Medal and the Medal of Honor of Japan in 2009 for a series of his researches to pioneer the early age of “Molecular Evolutionary Studies using Genome Information”

He is the Founding Editor of the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, the Executive Editor of the journal Gene, Academic Editor of FEBS Letters, Associate Editor of Molecular Biology and Evolution and PLOS Genetics, and Section Editor of Computer Genomics in BMC Genomics. He has served on the editorial boards of 6 international journals including GigaScience. Previously he was the Editor of Journal of Molecular Evolution for 8 years (1995–2003). He is leader of the Japanese team of the H-Invitational international consortium who was tasked with creating a database linking the 21,037 validated human genes to their biological function

Gojobori has worked extensively on the rates of synonymous and non-synonymous substitutionspositive selectionhorizontal gene transferviral evolutiongenome evolution, and comparative gene expression. In recent years, he has focused on the evolution of the brain and Central nervous system.

Gojobori has served as the Program Director of the Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP) of the Government of Japan and is the Science Officer of the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture, and Technology (MEXT). He has contributed to the DDBJ/GenBank/EMBL database construction as well as the H-Invitational human gene database.

Tamer Shahin

Tamer Shahin is Prototyping Lead Engineer at KAUST.

Theresa Reineke

Theresa M. Reineke is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Minnesota. She also holds graduate faculty appointments in the Departments of Chemical Engineering/Materials Science and Pharmaceutics. She received a B.S. Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an M.S. Degree from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. from The University of Michigan. Her research group is focused on enabling fundamental and applied technology advancements of polymers in the fields of gene therapy and genome editing, drug delivery, and sustainability. Reineke is also a founding Associate Editor of ACS MacroLetters.

Thibaut Lery

Dr. Thibaut Lery acts as Director of the Office of Research and Evaluation at KAUST. Previously, he was Senior Science Officer in charge of foresight, evaluation services and collaborative projects at the European Science Foundation in Strasbourg, France. He was also an associated Professor at the University of Strasbourg, teaching Project Management at Master level at the Ecole de Management de Strasbourg - Business School, and at the Ecole Supérieur de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg (ESBS). He has managed European foresight initiatives, Research Networking Programmes, projects with the European Commission and Peer review activities. He has been working as an expert for the European Commission (Research infrastructures, Marie Curie Programmes, Future Emerging Technologie, DG Research, DG INFSO), the Irish and Norwegian governments. He has a PhD in computational and theoretical astrophysics. He was previously involved in the Irish National grid, the Irish Computing Center ICHEC, in European projects such as EGEE, EARNEST, JETSET, HET and PRACE. Previously, he has been holding academic teaching and research positions in France, Canada, Ireland and Congo.

Todd Nims

Todd Albert Nims is a Saudi-born American producer heavily involved in the Gulf region’s cinema and entertainment development. Mr. Nims is known for producing the feature films JOUD (2019) and BORN A KING (2019) for release to cinemas in 2019. He held the Film Producer position at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s state-of-the-art hub for inspiring creativity and global culture, Ithra, for six years where he established the Kingdom’s first cinema and assisted in launching the first Saudi Film Days (saudifilmdays.com) program to provide funding and development to Saudi filmmakers while screening their films in Hollywood. Mr. Nims owns a AB Media, a media consultancy business based in the USA and Empty Quarter Entertainment, a tech media company, based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Yaser Binabdulrahman

Yaser B. is an active young Saudi Director/ Editor. In 2018 Yaser went to Los Angeles to take a filmmaking course, while he was in school he managed to direct his first short film and work on sets with some of the elites in the field like Meshal Aljaser. After coming back to Saudi Arabia Yaser got an opportunity to work with one of the best rental houses in Saudi “EQEW”. While working for EQEW Yaser got a chance to get a three-month scholarship from the Saudi Film Council for an editing course in one of the best film schools worldwide “University of Southern California”. After coming back from the states Yaser directed his first big project with a full professional crew for medical PSA competitions “W3i”. After that competition, Yaser directed a commercial for an application for the Medical ministry that has been showed for the 4th global ministerial summit. In 2019, Yaser flew to Los Angeles to Co-direct a Saudi feature film with his brother Maan titled “Junoon” it will hit Saudi theater in December 2019.

Yasser Al-Omrany

Yasser Al-Omrany is a Prototyping Technician, at KAUST's Prototyping Core Lab.

Zhen Gu

Zhen Gu is a Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Director of the NIH Biotechnology Training in Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his B.S. degree in Chemistry and M.S. degree in Polymer Chemistry and Physics from Nanjing University. In 2010, he obtained a Ph.D. at UCLA. He was a Postdoctoral Associate working with Dr. Robert Langer at MIT and Harvard Medical School from 2010 to 2012. Before he moved to UCLA in 2018, he had been appointed as a Jackson Family Distinguished Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. Dr. Gu’s group studies controlled drug delivery, bio-inspired materials, and nanobiotechnology, especially for cancer and diabetes treatment. He has published over 170 research papers and applied over 60 patents. He is a co-founder of five start-up companies.

Zulfikhar Mohammed

Zulfikhar Ali Mohammed is an experienced systems’ analyst with emphasis on Unix security. He has over 18 years’ experience in the IT industry, ensuring optimal functionality of systems while maintaining security standards. At KAUST, he is responsible for making sure our mission-critical systems (processing salaries, budgets, HR, GASC requests, etc) are compliant with CIS-CAT benchmarks, which is an industry-wide security standards body. He also keeps a close eye on security risks and threats as they appear and takes actions to remediate and eliminate them.

Performers, Artists and musicians

Artie's Group

Artie’s is a musical adventure that first originated in India. The idea was simple. Gauthier Herrmann, a cello-player, simply wanted to play with musicians he loves! Artie’s, it is know-how. Its unique structure enables you, whether you are an individual, a theatre, a concert hall or touristic site, to create festivals, concerts or tailor-made events whether you wish for a chamber music trio to play in your living room, or an orchestra to perform in your concert hall. Artie’s, whether the spectator is a novice or a melamine, is a friendly, spontaneous and generous encounter with Artie's family of musicians. Artie’s is a family, an international gathering of renown musicians and chamber music lovers, who are committed to unic concerts favoring close proximity with the audience, from India to Corsica, from Djakarta to Paris, from Beijing to… your home!

Corentin Le Hir

Corentin Le Hir was born in France and raised in North Carolina (US). He began playing music at the age of nine and continued with the string bass in high school. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Corentin now lives in New York City where he is a master's student at The Juilliard School in the Jazz Studies Program.

David Adewumi

Dave Adewumi is an award-winning trumpet player, composer, and educator captivated by the transcendental nature of music. His work derives from the great black improvisers and composers of the past yet pushes forward to capture the totality of the human experience. From his strong Nigerian upbringing in New Hampshire (US), he established an unquenchable thirst for music creation leading him to study at the New England Conservatory with great jazz mentors such as Ralph Alessi, Ran Blake, and Frank Carlberg. In 2016 Dave was accepted to The Juilliard School’s Jazz Studies Master’s Program under the artistic leadership Wynton Marsalis. In 2017 he was the first jazz musician and trumpet player to receive the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. In 2019 he was awarded first prize in the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Competition. He has performed around the world at international jazz festivals. His most recent collaborations have been with Jason Moran and the Bandwagon’s Absence of Ruin at the Kennedy Center; Dave Douglas’ Engage, and Dizzy Atmosphere at the De Camera Festival. Dave currently lives in Harlem, NYC.

Liston Gregory

Liston Gregory, III, hails from Florida (US). His passion for music led him to State College of Florida, where he discovered professors and students who have challenged him to become the musician he is today. He is an alumnus of the University of North Florida where he earned his B.A. Degree in Jazz Studies and Piano Pedagogy under the tutelage of Lynne Arriale. He has performed on many world-famous stages, such as the Apollo Theatre in New York City and the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC. Liston’s gospel-rooted, jazz-influenced, technical approach has given him many opportunities to perform in a variety of musical genres. He has worked with two-time Grammy-winner, jazz drummer, Ulysses Owens, Jr. since 2016.

Mavis Pan

Mavis Pan was born in Taiwan where she started taking piano lessons at the age of four, attending the Stella Matutina Girls School, where she was enrolled in the prestigious Specialized Music program. Ms. Pan received rigorous training in piano, voice, music theory, and ear training until the family immigrated to the United States, New Jersey. There she studied privately with Sherry Fan, performed with the high school big band and choir groups, and won “Best Accompanist” at the High School Choral Festival competition in 1996. Upon her high school graduation she gave a debut solo piano recital at Westminster College of the Arts at Rider University. ​

As an undergraduate, majoring in jazz piano performance at New York University, Ms. Pan studied jazz piano with Don Freeman, Frank Kimbrough, and Peter Malinverni, classical piano with Fabio Gardenal, and jazz vocal with Ann Phillips. She sang with the five times Grammy Award winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and continued her studies at Columbia University, where she studied conducting and voice with Dino Anagnost while earning a Master’s Degree in Music & Music Education. ​

Ms. Pan was a finalist in the YPMP/CACA piano competition and has performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center’s David H Koch, and the Alice Tully Hall and Symphony Space. She has also performed at the Opening Night Gala of the Asian Nights celebration at Shea Stadium. ​

A composer, pianist, conductor, and vocalist Ms. Pan has performed her own original works, including but not limited to orchestral, choral, jazz, chamber music, and solo instrumental and vocal works across the United States, Europe, Middle East and Asia. She was the composer-in-residence and choir director at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in New York for five years. There she premiered numerous new works with the choir and chamber orchestras. Her choral work, "A Christmas Carol" was recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic Symphony, under the ERM label, available on Amazon.com. ​

After Ms. Pan made her debut Jazz album “On My Way Home” in 2010, she spent a year in Shanghai performing and teaching. Students from all over China participated in the Jazz Intensive Music Camp in Shanghai, where she served as a Jazz piano instructor and translator for Master Classes. Her second Piano Solo album “Not Alone” was released December of 2016 and was distributed both in U.S.A and China. ​

Graduating summa cum laude Ms. Pan earned a Master’s degree in Musical Composition from Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music studying under renown contemporary classical composers Tania Leon and Dalit Warshaw. She was given two composition awards, Morton Feldman and Miriam Gideon, by the conservatory and was selected to be on the Dean’s list upon graduation. She has performed and arranged for The Asian Cultural Symphony of the USA under the baton of Mr. Fei Fang. In October 2021, she found the non-profit organization "Pitches Brew" with the mission to encourage and raise up the next generation of female identifying composers, who have historically been excluded and underrepresented in the classical and jazz canon. ​

Her latest album “INSIDE”, in collaboration with lyricist David Keyes and produced by Michael Patterson, is featuring 13 original Jazz love songs and was released on International Women's Day 2022 on iTunes and other major distribution. ​

In addition to Ms. Pan's musical life, she has also obtained a M.A. degree in Urban Ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary and is currently the choir director/composer in residence at the Church of Grace to Fujianese, Lower Eastside Manhattan.

Tim Blais

Tim Blais is a Canadian science communicator. He explains scientific topics via writing and performing a capella parodies of popular music which he records and posts on his YouTube channel, A Capella Science

Tom Pringle

Tom Pringle (AKA Dr. Bunhead) has been a globe-trotting, freelance science communicator for over 20 years and is internationally renowned as a pioneer of performance-science shows and immersive training programs. He has performed on TV (Brainiac, Blue Peter, etc.) and in theatres and schools across 30 countries. He has trained thousands of people (including scientists, students, teachers, technicians & science presenters) in many languages and cultures, across all six inhabited continents. Occasionally, he writes for the press, educational journals, and books. Tom embraces science, education, physical theatre, dance, puppetry, and applied improvisation to deliver innovative and impactful science communication and CPD for school teachers and academics.


Ulysses Owens

A drummer who “take[s] a back seat to no one” (The New York Times), performer, producer and educator, Ulysses Owens, Jr. goes the limit in the jazz world and beyond. Owens also gained special attention for his performances on the Grammy Award-winning albums with Kurt Elling and Christian McBride. As an educator, he is the co-creator of his online jazz drum video course, “Finding Your Beat,” with Open Studio Network. He recently was asked by Hal Leonard Publishing to write a percussion method, “Jazz Brushes for the Modern Drummer: An Essential Guide to the Art of Keeping Time.” His second book, “The Musicians Career Guide: Turning Your Talent into Sustained Success,” will be released by Skyhorse Publishers in January 2021. Owens’ family founded “Don’t Miss a Beat, Inc.,” a non-profit organization empowering young people through a blend of musical, artistic, academic, and civic engagement programming. Ulysses remains consistently in demand for new projects as an Artist, Producer, Author, and Educator, remaining one of the most sought-after drummers and thought leaders of his generation.