Posted on May 07, 2018

A leading scientist at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) is being presented with the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award from his alma mater in the US.

Dr. Khaled Machaca, associate dean of research at WCM-Q and professor of physiology and biophysics, was awarded his Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from Emory University’s Laney Graduate School in Georgia in the US in 1996. Since then, Dr. Machaca has had an internationally renowned career as a researcher 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.

Dr. Machaca oversaw the establishment and growth of the research program at WCM-Q over the past decade. This included the recruitment of 16 faculty members to join the program, the implementation of the operational and regulatory infrastructure for research at WCM-Q, and the establishment of state-of-the-art core facility that currently service WCM-Q faculty and other stakeholders nationally. The research program has been successful and has established itself at one of the premier biomedical programs regionally by garnering significant extramural funding in excess of $100 million, publishing more than 800 papers which have received over 16,000 citations to date.

His significant contributions to the scientific world have now been formally recognized by Emory University’s Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS) who have named him the recipient of their 2018 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. As such, Dr. Machaca has been invited to deliver a seminar at Emory. The lecture, entitled ‘Of Chicken, Worms, Frogs, Mice and Humans, Searching for the Spark of Life’, summarized Dr. Machaca’s scientific and professional journey to the audience at Emory. The seminar was followed by a banquet to honor the distinguished alumnus and student achievements at the North Druid Hills Golf Club.

Dr. Machaca said: “It is a great honor and privilege to have my career recognized by my alma mater. This award was particularly special because my daughter Raya is currently a student at Emory. It further allowed me to reflect back on my career in a different light, and interact with students and colleagues at Emory GDBBS and realize the great strides on the research front that Emory has achieved over the past two decades since my days there as a graduate student. “Science and research are vital to the acquisition of knowledge and the development of better healthcare – particularly personalized healthcare – and it is very gratifying to be working in a country like Qatar, which places such importance on knowledge and scientific research.”

As WCM-Q’s associate dean of research, Dr. Machaca is leading the college’s efforts to research diseases and conditions prevalent to Qatar and the MENA region, like diabetes and obesity, with the goal of contributing to the discovery and development of new therapies. He is also passionate about increasing local research and scientific capacity, and under his leadership intern programs have been introduced to provide prospective Qatari scientists with bench and administrative experience in WCM-Q’s world-class research enterprise. In his role, Dr. Machaca also oversees the operational, academic and financial management of the research enterprise at WCM-Q.