A leading scientist at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) is presented with the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award by his alma mater in the United States, the Emory University’s Laney Graduate School in Georgia. Dr Khaled Machaca, Associate Dean of Research at WCM-Q and Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, received his PhD in cell and developmental biology from Laney Graduate School in 1996.

Dr Machaca is renowned for his research in the fields of calcium signaling and gamete maturation, publishing multiple high-impact scientific articles in leading journals. He joined WCM-Q in 2007 and was appointed associate dean of research the following year.

He oversaw the establishment and growth of the WCM-Q research programme over the past decade including the recruitment of 16 faculty members, the implementation of the operational and regulatory infrastructure for research, and the establishment of the state-of-the-art core facility that currently service its faculty and other stakeholders. The research programme has been successful and has established itself as one of the premier biomedical programmes in the region, garnering significant extramural funding in excess of US$100 million, publishing more than 800 papers which have received over 16,000 citations to date.

His significant contribution to the scientific world have now been formally recognised by Emory University. Dr Machaca was also invited to deliver a seminar. The lecture, dubbed ‘Of Chicken, Worms, Frogs, Mice and Humans, Searching for the Spark of Life’, summarised Dr Machaca’s scientific and professional journey to the audience at Emory. The seminar was followed by a banquet at the North Druid Hills Golf Club.

Speaking about the award, Dr Machaca said that the recognition has been particularly special because his daughter, Raya, is currently a student at Emory. He emphasised the importance of science and research, which he said, are vital to the acquisition of knowledge and the development of better healthcare – particularly personalised healthcare. He said that it has been very gratifying to work in Qatar, because of the importance the country places on knowledge and scientific research.

As WCM-Q Associate Dean of Research, Dr Machaca is leading the efforts to study diseases and conditions prevalent in Qatar and the MENA region, like diabetes and obesity, to contribute to the discovery and development of new therapies. He is also passionate about increasing the local research and scientific capacity, and under his leadership, intern programmes have been introduced to provide budding Qatari scientists with bench and administrative experience within the WCM-Q research enterprise.

For more information about Dr Machaca and the WCM-Q research programme, visit qatar-weill.cornell.edu