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Speaker List

Mariam Al-Maadeed PictureMariam Al-Maadeed, Ph.D Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Qatar University

Prof. Mariam Al-Maadeed is Vice president of research, the founder and of Center for Advanced Materials, and the founder of the master's program in Materials Science and Technology at Qatar University. She received a doctorate in Physics (Materials Science) from the University of Alexandria, Egypt in 2001 and joined the Department of Physics at QU in the same year. Prof. Al-Maadeed has a long experience and international recognition in the field of polymers and characterization as well as in the field of nanocomposites technologies and nanotechnology expertise. She has more than 150 research papers in international journals and conferences apart from a series of book chapters, books and patents. Dr. Al-Maadeed chaired several conferences, was invited as keynote speaker to several international conferences and was member of several committees in the country and abroad.


Asma Al-Thani PictureAsma Al-Thani, Ph.D, Professor of Virology, Director of the Biomedical Research Center and dean of college of Health Sciences in Qatar University
Prof. Al-Thani is the founder and director of the Biomedical Research Center in Qatar University. She is the founder and dean of the Health Science collage.
Prof. Al-Thani has also fulfilled roles as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar since 2011, as Vice Chairperson of the Qatar Biobank Board since 2010, a Qatar Foundation nominate for Chair of the National Genome Qatar Committee in December 2013.
Prof. Al-Thani has numerous published articles in her field of expertise. She works as reviewer for several scientific journals and conferences and is a member in the American Society for Microbiology She received multiple academic awards including the First Prize of Sheikh Hamad Bin Rashid for Culture and Sciences for research in December 2006 and was awarded a prize from the Al-Jasra Cultural Club-Qatar for student research. More recently, Feb 2019, she was awarded the "Incentive State Award" in the field of allied medical sciences and nursing and she was honored from the Amir H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.


Huseyin Yalcin PictureHuseyin Yalcin, Ph.D, Assistant professor of metabolic disorders at Biomedical Research Center (BRC), Qatar University.
Dr. Huseyin C. Yalcin is an assistant professor of metabolic disorders at Biomedical Research Center (BRC), Qatar University. He is also joint faculty for Biomedical Science and Mechanical Engineering Programs. His research interests include cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and cancer focusing on basic/translational science aspects of the investigations by experimenting on animal models of these diseases in addition to clinical collaborations. Dr. Yalcin is the head of zebrafish and chick embryo facilities at BRC. Dr. Yalcin`s research experience has been fostered by several years of intensive work at state-of-the-art and multi-disciplinary institutions including Qatar Cardiovascular Research Center (as senior research scientist), Dogus University Mechanical Engineering Department (Turkey, as assistant/associate professor), and Cornell University Biomedical Engineering Department (USA, as postdoctoral researcher). He obtained his Ph.D. in Bioengineering/Mechanical Engineering in 2007 at Lehigh University, USA. Dr. Yalcin`s research interests span a wide range of topics in the basic, applied, and translational bioengineering. These involve, genetic manipulations, advanced microscopy imaging, ultrasonography, computed tomography, computational modeling, biomechanical characterization of tissue, and development of biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. He published more than 30 papers, some of which in top tier scientific journals like Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Current Biology, Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, Frontiers in Physiology, American Journal of Physiology, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Developmental Dynamics. These publications received above 600 citations. Dr. Yalcin has received Young Scientist award form Turkish Science Academy in 2013. Dr. Yalcin secured more than $1.5 million for his research funded by Qatar National Research fund, European Union FP7, and Turkish Science Foundation (TUBITAK).


Didier Stainier PictureDidier Stainier, Ph.D, Director of the Department of Developmental Genetics, the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research

Prof. Didier Stainier is the director of the Department of Developmental Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Harvard where he studied the cellular basis of axon guidance and target recognition in the developing mouse brain with Walter Gilbert. After a postdoc with Mark Fishman at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) where he initiated the studies on zebrafish cardiac development, he spent close to 20 years at the University of California San Francisco, expanding his research to investigate questions of cell differentiation, tissue morphogenesis, organ homeostasis and function, as well as organ regeneration, in the zebrafish cardiovascular system and endodermal organs. In 2012, he moved to the Max Planck Institute where he continues to utilize both forward and reverse genetic approaches to investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms of developmental processes during vertebrate organ formation, in both zebrafish and mouse.


Fatiha M. Benslimane PictureFatiha M. Benslimane, Ph.D, Research Associate and the Zebrafish facility manager in the Biomedical Research Center, Qatar University
Dr. Fatiha M. Benslimane is a research associate and the Zebrafish facility manager in the Qatar University Biomedical Research Center. Her research background is in the field of diabetes and cardiovascular complications particularly investigating the molecular mechanisms affecting organ function in diabetic in vivo and in vitro. She is a Qatar University Alumni; she obtained her Bachelor degree in the field of Biomedical Sciences and her project was focusing on diabetes. She continued in Nottingham Trent University where she obtained her Master of Science in the same field. She then joined Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar, as a Research Specialist working on diabetes microvascular complications. She received the Vice Chancellor International Research Excellence scholarship from The University of Nottingham, UK, to pursue a Ph.D degree in the field of physiology and pharmacology. Her project was focusing on obesity induced chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. Currently, she is working on projects related to diabetes, diabetes associated complication and cardiovascular complications in Zebrafish and check embryo models.


Elisabeth Busch-Nentwich PictureElisabeth Busch-Nentwich, Ph.D, Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge
After studying biochemistry at the Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen, Dr. Elisabeth Busch-Nentwich gained her Ph.D at the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology. During her time at the MPI she participated in one of the large forward mutagenesis screens in zebrafish with a focus on inner ear function. In 2003 she joined Derek Stemple's team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute as a postdoc modelling human myopathies in zebrafish and went on to establish a high-throughput reverse genetics phenotyping programme as co-project leader of the Zebrafish Mutation Project. Since 2015 Elisabeth is running her own group and in 2017 she joined the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. Her current work focuses on integrating morphological and molecular phenotyping approaches in mouse and zebrafish to elucidate gene-regulatory events underlying development and disease.


Kerem Pekkan PictureKerem Pekkan, PhD, Associate Professor, Koc University
Dr. Kerem Pekkan led his research laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University as an Associate Professor, before joining to Koc University in 2015. His studies contributed to the physiological understanding of pediatric cardiovascular surgeries and helped establishing the research field of embryonic cardiovascular mechanics. He has over 90 peer-reviewed publications and holds five US patents. His research is sponsored through American Heart Association, National Science Foundation CAREER program and recently through the most prestigious awards of Europe; European Research Council Consolidator and European Molecular Biology. He also received Prof. Dr.-Ing. Helmut Reul Young Investigator award due to his work on pediatric cardiovascular devices.


Ramani Ramchandran PictureRamani Ramchandran, Ph.D , Vice Chair for Research in OBGYN
Prof. Ramani Ramchandran received his BS and MS degrees from the University of Mumbai, India, Ph.D. degree at Augusta University, USA, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard. Currently, Prof. Ramchandran is the Patrick J. and Margaret G. McMahon Endowed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN), Vice Chair for Research in OBGYN and Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). He is also the Director of the Developmental Vascular Biology Program and Zebrafish Drug Screening Core at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and MCW. He is the recipient of the National Cancer Institute scholar award in 2001. He received the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Augusta University. He serves on national and international panels for grant review, most notably the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he served as a charter member of the Vascular Cell and Molecular Biology Study section for six years. His research program investigates fundamental questions related to blood vessel patterning, and utilizes human cell culture, zebrafish, and mouse model systems. His laboratory is known for various novel innovative discoveries in the vascular biology field including the identification of the first long non-coding RNA in this field. He continues to explore these questions and is funded by NIH and grants from other agencies. He has published over 70 papers in leading biomedical journals and has 20 plus years of experience in biomedical research. He is considered an expert in vascular biology and diseases affected by deregulated vessels, collaborates extensively with labs within and outside of the USA and manages an active program at MCW comprised of post-doctoral fellows, technicians, medical students, graduate students, faculty and staff. He is also the co-founder of a non-profit company Bridge to Cures, Inc. and actively involved with training the next generation of scientists.


Maria Angela Nieto Toledano PictureMaria Angela Nieto Toledano, Ph.D, Cajal Institute in Madrid
Prof, Nieto received her Ph.D in 1987 (Universidad Autónoma, UAM, Madrid) after working on protein-nucleic acid interactions in nucleosomes and ribosomes. In 1988, she moved to the Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas (CSIC-UAM) also in Madrid to study programmed cell death in lymphocytes. In 1989 she moved to the National Institute for Medical Research in London to work with David Wilkinson where she isolated a number of genes involved in the morphogenesis of the nervous system. In 1993, she obtained a position of Staff Scientist at the Cajal Institute in Madrid. From then on, she has led a research group interested in studying cell movements and plasticity. In particular, her group has studied the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in development and disease, and her main contribution has been the impact that the reactivation of this developmental program has in adult disease, including tumour progression and fibrosis.
She was elected EMBO member in 2000 and Member of the Academy of Europe in 2009. She has gathered over 30.000 citations to her more than 120 publications (see Google Scholar). In addition to the commissions of trust indicated above, she is currently member of the Editorial Boards of EMBO J, Current Opinion in Genetics and Development; Mechanism of Development; Gene Expression Patterns, Trends in Genetics and Int. J. Developmental Biology. Among others she has received the following awards: "Carmen and Severo Ochoa Prize" (2004), "Prize Francisco Cobos Foundation" in Biomedical Research (2005); "Alberto Sols" to best research career (2008), "Rey Jaime I" in Basic Research (2009), Science Spanish Team QUO Magazine (2015), Scientific Merit recognition from the Generalitat Valenciana (2015), Basic Research Prize in Nephrology "Iñigo Alvarez de Toledo" (2016), Mexico Prize in Science and Technology (2017), Lilly Foundation Award in Preclinical Research (2018) and ASEICA Cancer Research Award (2018).


Koichi Kawakami PictureKoichi Kawakami, Ph.D, Professor in Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics
Prof. Koichi Kawakami received his Ph.D. from Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo. Currently, Dr. Kawakami is Professor in Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics. He is specialized in Genetics, Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology and Neurobiology. He has many publications such as: Real-time visualization of neuronal activity during perception, Left habenula mediates light-preference behavior in zebrafish via an asymmetrical visual pathway. In addition to: Protocadherin-mediated cell repulsion controls the central topography and efferent projections of the abducens nucleus (2018)


Stefan H. FUSS PictureStefan H. FUSS, Ph.D, sensory neurobiology, olfactory system development, neuroregenration
Dr. Stefan H. FUSS received his BS and MS degrees from the Johannnes-Gutenberg Universität, Biology, Mainz, Germany, Ph.D. degree Institute for Genetics, Cologne, Germany, and was a post-doctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University, New York, USA. Currently, Dr. Fuss is Assoc. Professor in Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey. He has many publications such as: Patterned arrangements of olfactory receptor gene expression in zebrafish are established by radial movement of specified olfactory sensory neurons, Odorant receptor gene choice and axonal wiring in mice with deletion mutations in the odorant receptor gene SR1 and Local and cis effects of the H element on expression of odorant receptor genes in mouse.


Alaaeldin Saleh Research assistant , College of Medicine, Qatar University
Alaaeldin Saleh works as a Research assistant in the College of Medicine, Qatar University. He was awarded an M.Sc. in Biochemistry in 2010; and a B.Sc. in Pharmacy in 2008. Alaaeldin is an experienced cell/molecular biologist, and throughout his career has been using different techniques to co-investigate the molecular characterization of calcium-binding proteins mutations associated with cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the co-investigating of the therapeutic potential of thymulin analogs against neuroinflammation using zebrafish (Danio Rerio) model. In 2017, he was responsible for managing the confocal and fluorescence imaging facility at the College of Medicine.


Kirsten Sadler Edepli PictureKirsten Sadler Edepli, Ph.D, Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at NYUAD
Dr. Kirsten Sadler (Edepli) has pioneered the use of zebrafish as a model to study liver disease and has worked on fatty liver and liver cancer using this system for over 15 years. She completed a B.A. at Mount Holyoke College, a Masters in Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology at Harvard University. She was a post-doctoral fellow with Nancy Hopkins at MIT where she carried out a forward genetic screen to identify genes essential for liver development. In 2006, she joined the faculty at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NY and was promoted to associate professor in 2013. She moved to New York University Abu Dhabi in 2015 as a tenured global network associate professor of biology. She teaches undergraduates in biology and runs an active research group studying the epigenetic basis for liver growth, regeneration and cancer in mice and zebrafish and to study the role of ER stress in fatty liver caused by environmental toxicants. In addition to function as group leader for her lab at NYUAD, during the summer she is an investigator at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. She currently teaches biology at NYUAD and is a passionate advocate for gender equity in STEM. In 2018, she was appointed the Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at NYUAD


Ozlen Konu PictureOzlen Konu, Ph.D, Faculty member at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University
Dr. Ozlen Konu graduated from Middle East Technical University, Turkey, in 1987 with a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences. Dr. Konu pursued her graduate studies in the Biology Department at Texas Tech University, USA, and received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1992 and 1999, respectively. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Tennessee at Memphis, USA, during 2000-2002. Since September 2002, she is a faculty member at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bilkent University. Dr. Konu's research interests include gene expression data analysis and meta-analysis with respect to cholinergic signaling as it applies to addiction and cancer, and comparative expression profiling using zebrafish model.


Gong Zhiyuan PictureGong Zhiyuan, Ph.D, Professor at Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore
Dr. Zhiyuan Gong is currently a professor at Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. He was graduated with B.Sc in Marine Biology from Ocean University of China in 1982 and with Ph.D in Developmental Biology from McGill University, Canada, in 1987. He did his postdoctoral research at McGill University and University of Toronto between 1987 and 1995 and has been involved in several research projects including the work for generating growth hormone transgenic salmon which has been marketed as AquAdvantage salmon and recently approved by FDA of USA. He became a faculty member at National University of Singapore in 1995 and has been using the zebrafish model in developmental biology, aquaculture, toxicology and biomedical fields. His group has developed several fluorescent transgenic zebrafish and these fish were trademarked GloFishTM and become the first genetically modified pet marketed in USA. Now the GloFish technology has created a new growing industry to generate novel varieties of ornamental fish. Between 1999 and 2002, he was tasked by Singapore government to conduct fish tests for Singapore's NEWater (reclaimed water from sewage) and provided scientific data for health effects of NEWater. In recent years, his research interest have been extended to using the zebrafish model for environmental toxicology and water quality monitoring, including development of a variety of reporter transgenic zebrafish to indicate water pollution and to provide convenient bioassays. Another major area of his research is to use zebrafish as disease models, in particular, the liver cancer models for understanding molecular mechanisms. So far he has published over 200 research papers. He is an editor of several scientific journals and a reviewer for over 70 journals and more than 20 grant agencies worldwide.


Wenbiao Chen PictureWenbiao Chen, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics , Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN of the United States
Dr. Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN of the United States. He received his Ph.D in 1997 from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) under the supervision of Dr. Roger Cone. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Nancy Hopkins at MIT's Center for Cancer Research from 1997-2001, where he started to use zebrafish for genetic analysis of development and diseases. Dr. Chen returned to OHSU as an independent investigator in 2001, continue to develop genetic tools for zebrafish and to carry out genetic analysis of development, cancer and currently type 2 diabetes in zebrafish. He moved to Vanderbilt in 2008. His group was among the first to apply CRIPSR to zebrafish and to use CRISPR for conditional mutagenesis. Currently, his lab is using zebrafish to understand pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and the molecular mechanisms of physiologic and pathophysiologic proliferation of pancreatic islet cells. His research has been funded by the NIH, the March of Dimes, the American Diabetes Association, and NSF. Dr. Chen has served ad hoc reviewer on several NIH study sections and several international grant agencies. He has also served as a peer reviewer for dozens of journals. He has published more than 50 articles with more than 6000 citations.


Pervin Dinçer PicturePervin Dinçer, Ph.D, Hacettepe University, Medical Biology, Ankara, Turkey
Since 1994, as a translational medicine investigator Prof. Dincer has been conducting translational research focused primarily on hereditary muscle diseases and the development of prenatal diagnosis tests for mutations.
Prof. Dincer's laboratory has identified 5 causative genes for autosomal recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophy phenotypes including LGMD2K, LGMD2P, LGMD2Q, LGMD2R and LGMD2Y caused by mutation in POMT1, DAG1, PLEC1f, DES, TOR1AIP1 respectively. Her studies consist of the identification of the causative gene through genetic linkage studies, homozygosity mapping and the elucidation of the molecular pathogenesis through functional studies. In 2015, P. Dincer initiated the implementation of a Zebrafish Research Laboratory in Hacettepe University in order to develop CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tools in zebrafish for rare diseases modeling and screening of candidate rare diseases genes identified by next-generation sequencing.


Gheyath Nasrallah PictureGheyath Nasrallah, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Biomedical Science, Qatar University
Dr. Gheyath Nasrallah attended Dalhousie University/Halifax, Canada to pursue a Ph.D in Microbiology & Immunology in Dr. Rafael Garduno's lab. He received his postdoctoral fellowship training in Dr. Jason Berman's zebrafish lab at the IWK Health Center/Canada. His postdoctoral work was part of a Genome Canada funded project that aimed to identify novel genes and therapeutic interventions for selected orphan diseases. In 2012, Dr. Nasrallah joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Qatar University (QU) and his current position is an associate Professor of Biomedical Science. Dr. Nasrallah's lab (located at the Biomedical research Center) is considered as multidisciplinary service lab that supports researchers from in and outside QU to conduct their experimental works related to the following fields (1) Functional Genomic: his lab utilizes the yeast, tissue culture and zebrafish model to validate and elucidate the mechanism of pathogenesis of some novel and classical mutations that are mainly affecting the Qatari population. One of the genetic metabolic disorder that he is currently studying in is the homocystinuria (II) Toxicology/Zebrafish: Dr. Nasrallah's lab exploited the zebrafish embryo model to investigate toxicity of some novel chemical compounds and nanoparticles that potentially have Bioapplications. Comprehensive toxicity assays including acutoxicity, neuromuscular, cardio, hepatotoxicity, heat shock protein and oxidative stress assays are mainly uses to assess the safety of the novel compounds and drugs.


Michail Nomikos PictureMichail Nomikos, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in the College of Medicine, Qatar University
Dr. Nomikos earned his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool (UK) in 2000; and his M.Sc. in Medical Genetics with Immunology from Brunel University (London, UK) in 2002. The same year, he was awarded a Ph.D. studentship from the School of Medicine to perform his Ph.D. studies at Cardiff University (UK). After completing his Ph.D., he joined the National Center for Scientific Research (N.C.S.R.) 'Demokritos' in Athens (Greece). In 2014, Dr. Nomikos was awarded a highly competitive Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship from European Commission (309,235.20 euros) to perform his research and teaching duties in the School of Medicine at Cardiff University until 2016. In September 2016, he joined Qatar University as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in the College of Medicine. One of the main research interests of Dr. Nomikos revolves around understanding the cell signaling mechanisms and metabolism during mammalian fertilization and early embryonic development. Moreover, Dr. Nomikos uses multidisciplinary approaches to study the structure and function of proteins involved in various signaling cascades in cardiomyocytes in an effort to understand their role, as well as the role of their disease-causing variants (mutants), in the pathogenesis, predisposition and diagnosis of human cardiac disease (such as arrhythmias, cardiac hypertrophy and early onset cardiac death). Dr. Nomikos has over 40 peer-reviewed publications (including 2 book chapters) in highly ranked scientific journals. In 2013, Dr. Nomikos was awarded the prestigious 'Fertility and Sterility Investigator Achievement Award' by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. More recently, Dr. Nomikos received the international "Outstanding Paper Award 2017" of the Asian Journal of Andrology (AJA), the official journal of The Asian Society of Andrology, in recognition of his publication 'Is PAWP the "real" sperm factor?' in AJA, for which Dr Nomikos was the primary and senior author.


Zain Zakaria PictureZain Zakaria, Ph.D Candidate and Graduate Research Assistant - Cardiovascular Research
Zain Worked on Qatar National Research funded projects as collaboration between Qatar foundations, HMC, And Qatar University, 2008- 2014.
Started her Ph.D program in Biological and Environmental Sciences in 2015. For now, she is a Graduate Research Assistant at Biomedical Research Center -Zebrafish Lab.


Sahar Da'as PictureSahar Da'as, Laboratory supervisor of Zebrafish Core Facility at Sidra Medicine
Sahar is currently the laboratory supervisor of Zebrafish Core Facility at Sidra Medicine where she has established zebrafish model to be used for functional genomics to validate and characterize the phenotypes of genetic variants identified in the Qatar Genome Program related to inherited diseases that are predominant in Qatar. She possesses significant experience in the laboratory operation and her commitment is to develop an advance level of laboratory services. Currently she is finalizing her Ph.D at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University, her research project is The Role of Cardiac Myosin Binding Protein C3 Variants in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Correlation of Genotype-Phenotype in the Zebrafish Model. Prior relocating to Qatar, she worked at the Berman laboratory in Canada. Her research focused on the characterization of the notch signaling pathway role in mast cell development aiming to identify novel therapeutic strategies for targeting mast cells disease. The results of this work have been published in scientific articles and book chapter. Sahar has received awards for excellence in research including the professional excellence Thana award- Qatar foundation, the innovation excellence award – cancer care nova scotia, Canada and the IWK hospital stars team recognition award, Canada and more.


Enas Said Khalil Al Absi PictureEnas Said Khalil Al Absi, Zebrafish Lab Technologist, Qatar University Biomedical Research Center, Qatar
Ms. Al Absi gained her bachelor's degree from Qatar University from the Biomedical Science Department. She joined the Biomedical Research Center as a research assistant in 2014. Since then, Ms. Al Absi has been involved in many projects involving different biomedical fields and published eight publications so far.
Since 2015, Ms. Al Absi was also involved in the zebrafish facility and husbandry work and recently she joined the zebrafish facility working as laboratory Technologist


Susan Church Farmer PictureSusan Church Farmer, DVM, Ph.D, Assistant Director, Aquatics, for ARP and Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics

Susan earned her BS (Agriculture) and DVM (Veterinary Medicine) degrees from Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi, USA. She worked in private veterinary practice before joining the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she completed a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Laboratory Animal Medicine and a Ph.D in Pathology. At UAB, she has participated in research studies in several laboratories and worked as a senior clinical research veterinarian in the UAB Animal Resources Program (ARP). At UAB, she is currently Assistant Director, Aquatics, for ARP and Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics. She has been the Co-Director of the UAB Zebrafish Research Facility since its foundation in 2010. She has also served as Secretary and Vice-President of the Zebrafish Husbandry Association (ZHA). In collaboration with others, Susan leads a series of ZHA-sponsored training courses, including semester long online courses and weeklong hands-on short courses. She has strong interests in zebrafish husbandry, environmental enrichment, behavior, and development. On the personal side, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, one daughter, and two dogs. When not working, she likes to run, bike, swim, and volunteer at local triathlons and running events.


Chi Zhang PictureChi Zhang, Ph.D, Research scientist ,New York University, Abu Dhabi
Chi Zhang received his Ph.D degree in Genetics from Chiba University, Japan, where he started to work on Sanger sequencing and be interested in omics data analysis. After graduation from Japan, Chi joined Dr. Ressom's lab in Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where he collaborated with chemists and engineers to work on metabolomics for bio-marker development. Then he joined Dr. Sadler's lab at Mount Sinai, New York, started to study epigenomics and genomics in liver diseases and liver regeneration. In projects, RNA-seq was used to profile both gene and TE expression, ATAC-seq and Chip-seq on various histones markers were adopted to discovery chromatin states, also bisulfite sequencing was run to uncover DNA methylation, in both mouse and zebrafish genome. Now, Chi is a research scientist from Dr. Sadler's lab in New York University Abu Dhabi, mainly working on RNA-seq, Bisulfite-seq and Chip-seq data analysis and multi-omics data integration. His research interests are focused on deciphering the epigenome function during liver regeneration and understanding liver diseases induced by methylome changes. Also Chi is interested on multi-omics data integration, gene expression feature clustering and data visualization.


Christophe Raynaud PictureChristophe Raynaud, Ph.D Staff Scientist at Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar

Dr. Christophe Raynaud is now a senior staff scientist in Sidra medicine since 2015. He is manager of the stem cell core facility of Sidra research branch and active member of the Deep Phenotyping Core for flow cytometry analysis and sorting. He developed the CRISPR technology as part of the stem cell core facility and offer it now as a service within Sidra research facility of all cell type.
He studied physiology and molecular biology in the University of Marseille, obtained a biotechnology engineer degree from ESIL “Polytech Marseille”. He pursued his studies in oncology and obtained a PhD in 2008 at the university of Paris XI in molecular oncology. He had a 1 year postdoctoral experience in immunology at Institut Cochin in the laboratory of antigen presentation by dendritic cells. He then started working on stem cells at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in 2009, specifically on hematopoietic stem cells in vitro expansion and study of their mesenchymal and endothelial niche. He was also the flow cytometry core manager at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. He moved in 2013 to the Qatar Cardiovascular Research Center (member of Qatar Foundation) where he studies direct and indirect reprogramming of fibroblast into cardiomyocytes.


Gulsum Kurekci PictureGulsum Kurekci, Research Assistant in Medical Biology at Hacettepe University, Turkey
Gulsum Kayman-Kurekci is currently a Research Assistant in Medical Biology at Hacettepe University, Turkey. She received an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium. In 2014 she completed her M.Sc. in Medical Biology at Hacettepe University with her thesis consisting of the identification of the nuclear envelope protein LAP1 as novel protein responsible for muscular dystrophy. She is currently a Ph.D candidate in Medical Biology at Hacettepe University and her thesis work is addressing the role of LAP1 in transcriptional regulation in muscle cells. Her main research interest is the investigation of molecular pathogenesis of genetic muscular disorders through functional studies. She conducted research in projects led by Prof. Pervin Dincer on the use of CRISPR/Cas9 and TALEN genome editing tools in zebrafish for modeling of rare diseases.


Mashael Al-Badr PictureMashael Al-Badr, Research assistant in metabolic laboratory, Biomedical Research Center, Qatar University
Mashael Al-Badr earned her B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the Qatar University (QU) in 2007; and her M.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences (laboratory management track) from QU in 2018.
Al-Badr worked in Forensic Laboratory in Qatar as a biology and DNA fingerprinting specialist then she joined Qatar University in February 2018 as a research assistant in metabolic laboratory. She also one of the two main personnel responsible of taking care of the zebrafish. She received hands on and theoretical trainings from zebrafish lab specialist members on zebrafish maintenance and breeding in BRC Zebrafish facility. She also got online training certificates about taking care of zebrafish under IACUC regulation Al-Badr participates in the daily, weekly and monthly on zebrafish facility duties. She participated in research projects on zebrafish cardiotoxicity under IUCAC regulation


Ayse Gokce Keskus PictureAyse Gokce Keskus, Ph.D candidate , Bilkent University Neuroscience Program , Turkey
Ms. Ayse Gokce Keskus is a Ph.D candidate at Bilkent University Neuroscience Program in Turkey. Her research interests are zebrafish xenograft model development as well as bioinformatics applications to discover novel genes and signaling pathways with importance in cancer treatment and prognostication.


Fulya Yaylacıoğlu TuncayDr. Fulya YAYLACIOGLU TUNCAY An ophthalmologist and Ph.D. candidate in Medical Biology
Fulya Yaylacıoğlu Tuncay was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1983. She is an ophthalmologist and Ph.D. candidate in Medical Biology. Her research interests are hereditary eye diseases especially corneal dystrophies and disease modelling in zebrafish using genome editing techniques. Additionally, she has been working as a researcher in Health Institutes of Turkey (TUSEB) since April, 2016. In TUSEB, she takes part in rare diseases research group and in the team of Turkish Genome Project. Fulya Y. Tuncay was graduated from Hacettepe Medical Faculty in 2007 and finished her residency program in the Department of Ophthalmology in Gazi Medical Faculty in 2013. During her ophthalmology residency, she worked under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Simonelli (Head of the Clinic of Hereditary Retinopathies in Secondary University of Naples) as an observer between May and August 2012. This observation period gave her the inspiration to combine her ophthalmology background with medical biology and genetics. Now, as her Ph.D. thesis she has been working on 'Evaluation of phenotypic effects of CRISPR/Cas9 mediated TGFBI variation on zebrafish cornea'' in the Department of Medical Biology of Hacettepe Medical Faculty under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Pervin Dinçer. She attended the Clinical Genomics and NGS course in Bertinoro, Italy in May 2017 and attended the 6th Sardinian International Summer School-GWAS in June 2017. She won the Fulbright Visiting Research Student scholarship and has studied under the supervision of Kaya Bilguvar (Assistant Professor of Genetics) in Yale Medical School between October 2017 and June 2018.


Asma Al-Thani Picture Ola Al-Jamal Research Assistant, Qatar University
Ms. Ola Al-Jamal is a research assistant in Qatar University, Biomedical Research Center. She earned her B.Sc. in Biomedical Science from Qatar University in 2018 and her project was focusing on micro and macrovascular diabetic complications. She was involved in zebrafish facility and husbandry work and currently working on Zebrafish embryo model to examine the effect of different nanoparticles and drugs by assessing several toxicity assays. Moreover, she is currently studying the role of microbiota and the effect of gum Arabic on rats with adenine-induced chronic kidney.


Nada Mohamed Kafour Nada Mohamed Kafour Research Assistant, Qatar University Biomedical Research
Nada Kafour received her bachelor's degree in Biological science from the biological and environmental sciences department in Qatar University. She has since been working in the zebrafish lab conducting various experiments. Ms. Kafour has been trained on the zebrabox Revolution which is a component of ZebraLab and allows the automated observation and tracking of larvae zebrafish and zebrafish embryos. Ms. Kafour received the training from viewpoint behavior technology.