• Professor Fadlo R. Khuri

    Professor Fadlo R. Khuri is the 16th president of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Professor of medicine (hematology and medical oncology) at the Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center. He assumed office on September 1, 2015. Prior to joining AUB, he was professor and chairman of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine where he held the Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Chair for Cancer Research. He also served as deputy director for the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and was the executive associate dean for research of the Emory University School of Medicine.

     

    Professor Khuri was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Beirut where his father, Raja N. Khuri, was dean of AUB’s Faculty of Medicine and his mother, Soumaya Makdisi Khuri, was a professor of mathematics at AUB. Following a year of study at AUB (1981-82), Professor Khuri earned his undergraduate degree at Yale University in New Haven and his MD at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the Tufts-New England Medical Center. He was on the faculty of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1995-2002 prior to joining Emory University and the Winship Cancer Institute (Winship) in 2003.

     

    Professor Khuri is an accomplished molecular oncologist and translational thought leader. His clinical expertise and research are focused on the development of molecular, prognostic, therapeutic, and chemopreventive approaches to improve the standard of care for patients with lung and aerodigestive cancers. He has authored over 375 peer-reviewed articles, over 50 editorials and perspectives in leading journals, and over 100 reviews and chapters. He has served for the last six years as editor-in-chief of Cancer, the oldest and one of the most prestigious journals in the field. His scientific work has been cited over 33,500 times according to Google Scholar, 17,000 times according to Web of Science, and over 19,000 times according to Scopus (the latter two excluding self-citations), where his Hirsch index is 78. Professor Khuri has also served as a permanent member of multiple peer review committees for the American Cancer Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and was chair of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Oncology Study Section.

     

    Professor Khuri’s ability to build teams to improve outcomes for cancer patients helped develop Winship into a premier translational research institution. He led the recruitment of over 90 faculty to Emory University, helped oversee an increase in adult cancer patients placed on trial annually from 143 (in 2002) to over 650 (in 2014), and paved the way for Winship’s NCI comprehensive cancer center designation.

     

    Professor Khuri was motivated to return to Lebanon in 2015 to assume the position of university president by his and his family’s strong and deep personal connections to the country and the university and his appreciation of AUB’s enormous impact on the Arab world and its role as a fundamental driver of the American liberal arts ethos in the region. His priorities have informed the $650 million BOLDLY AUB fundraising campaign that the university launched in January 2017 to strengthen its research and educational missions, and develop state-of-the-art campus and medical facilities. AUB’s renewed focus on health and well-being is also reflected in AUB’s Health 2025 vision to establish the first health sciences campus in the Arab region to make AUB a global player in health. Under Professor Khuri’s leadership, AUB has reintroduced academic tenure and formed partnerships with peer universities in Lebanon and the world including Emory University, John Hopkins University, Paris Descartes University, Saint Joseph University, Trinity College Dublin, and University College London. Professor Khuri is also leading Vision 2030, a far-reaching plan to make AUB a university that is even more strongly defined by its liberal arts ethos in education, excellence in research, compassionate medical care, and an abiding commitment to Lebanon and the Arab world.

     

    Professor Khuri’s work has been recognized with several major awards including the 2006 Nagi Sahyoun Award of the Middle East Medical Assembly for “research that has changed the way we think about and treat lung and head and neck cancer,” the 2010 Waun Ki Hong Distinguished Professorship by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the 2013 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) for “his pioneering work in developing oncolytic viruses, signal transduction inhibitors, and biomarker-based chemoprevention approaches to lung and aerodigestive cancers.” In 2013, Professor Khuri was also recognized with the Arab American High Achievers (AAHA) Award by the Alif Society, the major Arab Cultural Foundation of Georgia. In 2018, he received the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Joseph Cullen Prevention Award as well as the WHO Award. He was listed continuously among America’s Top Doctors by Castle Connolly from 2005-16 when he was practicing in the US. Professor Khuri is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (2007), a fellow of the American College of Physicians (2009) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2015), and a member of the Lebanese Academy of Sciences (2015).

     

    Professor Khuri was elected to the ASL in 2015 for "creativity in addressing biological problems and generating innovative approaches in cancer therapy.”

    Sample of Academician's Research

    The diagram shows a connectivity map of the OncoPPi network of cancer-focused protein-protein interactions. The map involves 83 lung cancer-associated proteins linked via 397 interactions. Major hubs are highlighted in green. PPIs with mutual exclusivity of genomic alterations in lung adenocarcinoma are indicated with blue lines.

    Professor Khuri’s collaboration with Professor Haian Fu and his team led to the development of this connectivity map.

     

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  • Dr. André Mégarbané

    Dr. André Mégarbané is Research Director at the Institut Jérôme Lejeune in Paris. He received his Doctor of Medicine diploma in 1990 and a diploma of Genetic Diseases Specialist in 1994 from the Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon. In 1992, he received his Diploma of the Pasteur Institute in Somatic and Molecular Genetics, and in 1997, he obtained his PhD in Life Science from the Université René Descartes, Paris, France. Dr. Mégarbané was a Professor of Medical Genetics and Head of the Medical Genetics Unit at Saint Joseph University from 1994-2015.

     

    Dr. Mégarbané is a geneticist whose medical and research interests include the genetic bases of intellectual disability, dysmorphology, and osseous malformations, among many others. He is the author or co-author of more than 320 publications, and he has won several scientific awards, including the Abdel Hameed Shoman Arab Researcher’s Award, the Rammal Rammal Award for scientists from Mediterranean countries, the Lebanese CNRS (Centre de la Recherche Scientifique) award, and Mohamad El Fassi Award.

     

    Dr. Mégarbané is a member of the French Society of Genetics and Genetic Counseling, the American Society of Human Genetics, and the European Society of Human Genetics. He serves on the Lebanese National Consultative Ethics Committee; as member of the editorial boards of several journals including the European Journal of Medical Genetics, the Journal of Case reports, the Journal of Pediatric Genetics; and as a member of the Rammal Rammal Prize committee. He recently created, along with another geneticist, an association named “Orphan Diseases Without Borders” (Number W953007025).

     

    Dr. Mégarbané was elected to the ASL in 2012 for “discovering the basis of orphan genetic diseases and for the identification of previously unrecognized clinical syndromes which paved the way for the proper diagnosis of patients with rare genetic disorders.".

    Sample of Academican's Research

    Analysis of genetic diseases, cloning the responsible genes, and reporting mutations in these genes have a great benefit not only to the nuclear family that has been investigated, but often to its whole village and country. With this in mind, Dr. Mégarbané has established an inventory of a large number of patients presenting various genetic diseases and new syndromes. This inventory constitutes a useful DNA bank.


    To date, more than 20 genes affecting bones, brain, eyes, heart, and skin were mapped and/or cloned after analysis of Lebanese families. Concurrently, different research projects were conducted in order to describe the spectrum of mutations underlying common genetic diseases in Lebanon and nearby countries. These studies will allow researchers to perform reliable genetic tests and to understand the origin of genetic heterogeneity in Lebanese and Middle Eastern populations.

     

    Learn more…

     

  • Professor June Nasrallah

    June Nasrallah is the Barbara McClintock Professor of Plant Biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biology from the American University of Beirut and a PhD degree in Genetics from Cornell University.

     

    Professor Nasrallah’s research interests are in the general area of plant reproductive biology with a focus on self-incompatibility, which is one of the most common devices that plants use to prevent self-fertilization and promote out-crossing. Self-incompatibility systems are based on pre-fertilization “self/nonself” discrimination events that allow cells of the female reproductive structure to specifically prevent “self” pollen from effecting fertilization. In collaboration with colleagues and a team of post-doctoral fellows and graduate students, she has used methods of genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to identify and clone the genes that determine specific recognition and rejection of self-pollen by cells of the female reproductive structure in plants of the mustard family. Two genes were identified which occur in tight physical linkage at the S locus, the genetic locus that determines self-incompatibility specificity. Each S-locus haplotype was found to consist of two genes that encode highly-polymorphic and co-evolving proteins, a receptor protein kinase expressed in female cells and a small protein ligand expressed on the surface of pollen grains.

     

    Biochemical studies showed that it is the specific interaction between receptor and ligand encoded in the same S-locus haplotype that activates the receptor and triggers a signaling cascade that culminates in the rejection of self-pollen. Studies of engineered mutant receptors and ligands in transgenic plants have pinpointed the specific amino-acid residues required for receptor and ligand function, and these residues were found to form contact points between receptor and ligand in the recently-solved crystal structure of the receptor-ligand complex. The identification of these residues represents a major advance that sets the stage for understanding how the self-incompatibility receptors and ligands co-evolve and how diversification of the self-recognition repertoire can occur in this two-gene self-recognition system. In parallel, other studies have elucidated the genetic basis of evolutionary switches from out-crossing to self-fertility, with potent implications for understanding the evolution of plant mating systems. On a practical level, the insight gained from elucidating the molecular basis of self-incompatibility has implications for crop improvement and the design of novel strategies of pollination control for the generation of high yielding hybrid cultivars and production of pure hybrid seed on a commercial scale, which is difficult to achieve in plants with perfect flowers.

     

    This research has been funded by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. She has published over 100 primary research articles, reviews, and book chapters. Her work has been cited in prestigious scientific journals such as Science and Nature, and she has been invited to speak at many universities and scientific conferences in and outside the U.S.A.

     

    Professor Nasrallah is keenly interested in the training of the next generation of scientists, in teaching in formal and informal settings, and in the timely dissemination of research results. She has trained many graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in pant molecular genetics and plant biotechnology. She has served on the Editorial or Advisory Boards of several journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PLoS Biology, PeerJ, Trends in Plant Science, Plant Reproduction, Plant Physiology, and Molecular Plant. She is a member of the F1000Prime Faculty, which “comprises peer-nominated, internationally-renowned researchers across biology and medicine, who review and recommend the articles they consider of greatest interest and merit”.

     

    For her pioneering work in elucidating the molecular basis of self-incompatibility, Professor Nasrallah was awarded the Martin Gibbs Medal from the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2003 and in the same year, she was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences.

     

    Professor Nasrallah is a founding member of the ASL.

    Sample of Academican's Research

    The microscopic images (top row) show profuse pollen-tube growth in a compatible pollination (A) and inhibition of pollen-tube growth in a self-incompatible pollination (B). The inhibition of self-pollen results from activation of the S-locus receptor kinase, which is localized at the plasma membrane of the epidermal cells that cap the female reproductive structure (C), following its binding to its pollen-localizes ligand, the S-locus cysteine-rich (SCR) protein. The high-resolution crystal structure of the extracellular domain of the receptor in complex with its ligand (D), pinpoints the amino-acid residues that form contact points between receptor and ligand. These residues coincide with the residues that were shown by structure-function studies to be required for inhibition of self-pollen in planta.

     

    In a Science article, Professor Nasrallah and co-workers presented results of their study on the underlying genetic causes of transitions from cross-fertilizing to self-fertilizing mating systems. They isolated the genes encoding the S-locus receptor kinase and its pollen ligand, the small S-locus cysteine-rich protein, from one S-locus haplotype of self-incompatible Arabidopsis lyrata and introduced these genes into the normally self-fertile model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which lacks functional orthologs of these genes. They found that these two genes are sufficient to impart self-incompatibility in Arabidopsis thaliana. In addition to their value for understanding the genetic architecture of selfing, the resulting transgenic self-incompatible A. thaliana plants have been used for various studies of the S-locus receptor kinase, including visualizing its sub-cellular localization, describing its regulation and targeting to the plasma membrane, and identifying the amino-acid residues that are critical for specific recognition of its pollen ligand.

  • Professor Mona Nemer

    Professor Nemer is Canada’s Chief Science Advisor. Before being appointed to this post by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September 2017, she was Professor of Biochemistry and Vice-President for Research at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Molecular Genetics and Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory.

     

    Professor Nemer has a PhD in bio-organic chemistry from McGill University. Prior to joining the University of Ottawa, she was a Professor of Pharmacology at the Université de Montréal and Director of the Cardiac Development Research Unit at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM).

     

    Professor Nemer’s research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms involved in cellular growth and differentiation, particularly as this relates to heart failure and congenital heart diseases. She is renowned, amongst other things, for her pioneering work on the regulation of natriuretic heart hormones and the identification of several genes essential for heart development. To date, she has published more than 100 articles in prestigious scientific journals and has participated in editing several book chapters. She has also been involved in organizing numerous international gatherings, particularly in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology. Since 1995, she has been invited to speak at over one hundred conferences around the world. During her career, she has worked in several different research areas including chemistry, cellular/molecular biology, pathophysiology and clinical studies.

     

    In addition to her scientific achievements, Professor Nemer has demonstrated a strong commitment to the education of the next generation through both her supervision of graduate and post-graduate students as well as her contributions to numerous community services. Beyond her participation in various peer committees, including the interdisciplinary committee of the Canada Research Chairs Program, the National Research Council’s strategic biosciences committee and the multidisciplinary committee of the Human Frontier Science Programme, Professor Nemer was a member of several executive boards, including that of the MRC/CIHR, and has sat on several national and international advisory committees. As Director of Academic Affairs and Executive Director of Planning and Development for the IRCM, she has contributed to enhancing the reputation of this renowned health research centre.

     

    Professor Nemer’s research accomplishments have brought her a large number of awards, including the Leo Pariseau Prize in Biological Sciences and Health Sciences from ACFAS in 2003, and the Jeanne Manery Fisher Award from the Canadian Society of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology’s in 2002. She has been a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada since 2001, a member of the Order of Canada since 2014, and held a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Cell Differentiation. On April 23, 2009, Professor Nemer was given the insignia of the Knight of the National Order of Merit (Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite) by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

     

    Professor Nemer is a founding member of the ASL.

    Sample of Academican's Research

    Ventricular hypertrophy is the enlargement of ventricles (lower chambers) in the heart.

     

    Professor Nemer has identified doxorubicin-induced down regulation of human gene GATA4, a transcription factor known to play critical roles in cardiac development and ventricular hypertrophy, as a major mechanism underlying doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. She then went on to demonstrate that infusion of the alpha-adrenergic agent, phenylephrine, prevented doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, apparently by preventing the down-regulation of the GATA4.

     

    Her findings have major implications for the treatment of patients receiving anthracyclines, as well as of the use of alpha-adrenergic blockers in these patients.


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  • Dr. Jean-Loup Puget

    Dr. Jean-Loup Puget (born on 7 March 1947 in France) is Research Director emeritus for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He was admitted at Ecole Normale supérieure, Cachan and received a master’s degree from the Université Paris Sud in theoretical physics in 1969. For one year, he was at CERN and then received a fellowship from the European Research Organisation (which became ESA) at the University of Maryland and Goddard Space Flight Center (GFSC) between 1970 and 1972. In 1973, he received his PhD under the supervision of Prof. E. Schatzman, followed by a permanent research position at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He went back to GSFC, first as NRC post-doctoral fellow from 1974 to 1975 and NRC visiting scientist from 1982 to 1983. He was Deputy Director of the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris from 1978 to 1982. He joined the Radioastronomy group at the Ecole Normale supérieure in 1982, and was visiting scientist at the University of California, Berkeley in 1983. He was the leader in the creation of the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (IAS) in Orsay in 1989, and he was director of IAS for 8 years. He is a member of the Académie de Sciences of France and chair of the Space Research committee. He is a member of the Board of the Institute of Radioastronomy at Millimeter wavelength (IRAM) and chair of the Program Committee of the French space agency (CNES). Dr. Puget was selected as Mission Scientist for the ISO ESA mission (1983-2000). Since 1995, he has been a member of the FIRST (Herschel) science advisory group and he has been the PI of the High Frequency Instrument of the Planck ESA mission.

     

    Dr. Puget has received many recognitions and awards : Silver medal, CNRS, in 1988 ; the Jean Ricard price, Société Française de Physique, in 1989; Member Academia Europea, in 1992; Corresponding Member, Académie des Sciences, in 1994; Kingsley Distinguished Visitor, Caltech, in 1997; Louis de Broglie Lecturer, Academia dei Lincei, in 1998; Miller professor, University of California, Berkeley, in 1998 ; Member Institut de France, Académie des Sciences, in 2002; Member Internationalis Astronautica Academia, in 2004; Prix des Trois Physiciens, Ecole Normale Supérieure, in 2009; "Padua City of the Stars" Prize, in 2010; Grand Prix, Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France (Herschel-Planck) in 2010; Spitzer lecturer, Princeton, in 2013; Welsh lecturer, Toronto, in 2013; the Space Science award from COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) in 2014; Edison Volta Prize awarded by the European Physical Society in 2015; Paczinski Visitor, Princeton in 2017; Marcell Grossmann Gravitation and Fundamental Physics conference. Most recently, in 2018, Dr. Puget was awarded the Gruber Cosmology Prize, which was shared with the Planck Team, and the prestigious Shaw Prize in the Astronomy category "for his contributions to astronomy in the infrared to submillimetre spectral range".

     

    Dr. Puget has done research in cosmology, high energy astrophysics and physics of the interstellar medium. His main discoveries and scientific achievements are the discovery of the Cosmic Infrared Background in the COBE data, the discovery of the Policyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the interstellar medium of galaxies, and the leadership of the main instrument on the Planck satellite leading to an unprecedented accuracy on the cosmological parameters.

    He has more than 250 refereed papers and 48000 refereed citations (ADS).

     

    Dr. Puget was elected to the ASL in 2015 for "leadership and key contributions in revealing the history of our universe.”

    Sample of Academician's Research

    The all-sky image of the Cosmic Microwave Background is built out of the 9 frequencies of the Planck space mission after removing the foregrounds emissions of the interstellar emissions of our own Galaxy and of the emission of all galaxies. It comes to us from the early universe after a 13.8 billion years travel. The fluctuations on this 2.725 K black body are of order of 10-5 of the total intensity which gave rise to all structures we see now in the universe.

    Jean-Loup Puget is the principal investigator of the Planck High Frequency Instrument.

  • Professor Yves Quéré

    After graduating as an engineer, Yves Quéré turned to solid state physics where he specialized in the physical properties of transuranic metals, then in crystal defects of solids, including radiation effects in various types of materials. One of his main topics of interest has been the interaction of heavy particles with crystals, where he discovered the effect of dechanneling of particles by lattice distortions and defects.

     

    Having started his career at the French atomic energy Commisssion (CEA, Saclay), he moved to Ecole polytechnique (Paris-Palaiseau) where he created a laboratory dedicated to physical properties of irradiated solids and was elected Professor of physics, President of the Department of physics and President of the Senate of Professors.


    A member of the Académie des sciences since 1991, he has been for 10 years its foreign secretary, and was elected, in year 2000, co-Chair of the InterAcademy panel (IAP), the association of science Academies worldwide.

    In 1996, Professor Quéré joined Georges Charpak and Pierre Léna to launch La main à la pâte, a renovation of science teaching in French schools, actively endorsed by the Académie. This lead the three of them to a high number of interactions with foreign countries in all continents. In the meantime, he proposed the IAP to include Science education of children among its scientific programme, provoking an implication of quite a number of science Academies in the field of children’s education.

     

    Professor Quéré wrote several books, including Physics of materials, Gordon and Breach, 1998 ; La science institutrice, Odile Jacob, 2002 ; La sagesse du physicien, L’oeil neuf, 2005 ; and – cosigned with Georges Charpak and Pierre Léna – L’enfant et la science, Odile Jacob, 2005.

     

    Among Professor Quéré's many awards and honors are:

     

    • Médaille d’argent du CNRS (1969)
    • Grande médaille de la Société française de métallurgie et des matériaux (1994)
    • Officier des palmes académiques
    • Officier de l’Ordre national du mérite
    • Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur
    Professor Quéré is a founding member of the ASL.

    Sample of Academician's Research

    Channeling and Dechanneling of particles in crystals:

     

    The Green surface shows the dependence of the potential energy in a crystal and red particles are the charges which moves along the crystallographic planes.

    Because the crystalline plane has a high density of atomic electrons and nuclei, the channeled particles eventually suffer a high angle

    Rutherford scattering, or energy-losses in collision with electrons and leave the channel. This is called the "dechannelling" process.

     

    Prof. Quéré was the first to describe and model the dechanneling of fast particles by lattice defects in a series of classic papers in the late 1960's and early 1970's. He was able to obtain the fundamental result that the dechanneling cross-section for straight dislocation is proportional to the square root of the ion energy.

    This opened the way to various applications for studying lattice defects and imaging in materials.

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