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Abdullah Al Amoudi

Abdullah Al-Amoudi is a member of 'The Leftovers'.

Brought up in a family devoted to the arts – a painter for a father, several uncles that are oud players, and an aunt that is quite the celebrity in the Middle East- Amoudi embarked on music at the age of sixteen. Early on he was influenced by the Arab Classics, citing Oum Kulthoum as the single greatest influence.

Not long ago, Amoudi made the jump in Blues, Jazz, R&B and other genres, performing in and out of campus in different bands and different styles.

Ahmed Hesham M. Balawi

Ahmed Balawi is a member of 'The Leftovers'.

All it took was a VCR taping of an Eagles' concert and Don felder's killer solo in Hotel California to hook 15-year-old Ahmed to the guitar. From that moment on he spent hours everyday on a rusty guitar in his parents' basement learning that one solo.

In time he built a repertoire of rock classics and other influences started to join in: Tonino Baliardo and the Gipsy Kings opened his eyes to Balawi to Flamenco, and he experimented with the blues, jazz and other styles. 

Amal Dokhan

Amal is a design thinker and a passionate professional in creating customer centric experiences. She guides established corporates and startups to create innovation & commercialization opportunities through customer focused creative solutions. Amal offers multiple workshops and lectures on Design Thinking following the Stanford D-School methodology and applying IDEO’s practical learning’s as she has experienced it in Stanford with an adaptation to the local market and a customized offering for the organization requirements and needs.

Throughout her career Amal gained a diversified range of experience in management and marketing related roles particularly in education and consultancy. Currently, Amal is part of the Entrepreneurship Center in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in a number of roles including the New Ventures Accelerator & Hikma IP Startup Accelerator & REVelate Corporate Innovation program. Amal is also an entrepreneur, who started her own businesses, She was part of a joint venture with a startup in Dubai focused on creating media and production services for clients like Starcom Dubai, Yahoo Dubai and many others. 

Anatole Krattiger

Anatole deals with the intersection of IP and global health, climate change, and food security at WIPO. He begun his career as a farmer in Switzerland, has a BSC in agronomy, and an MPhil in plant breeding and a PhD in molecular genetics from Cambridge University.

He worked at one of the CGIAR centers, led ISAAA, a global non-profit broker of agbiotech for developing countries with a regional office in Los Banos, Philippines, served as Executive to the Humanitarian Board for Golden Rice, was Editor-in-Chief of the ipManagement Handbook (www.ipHandbook.org) and consulted widely at the crossroads of development, government, science, businesses, and philanthropy. As Adjunct Professor, he also teaches IP management at Cornell University.

Anders Rostad

Dr. Anders Rostad is a Research Scientist in the Red Sea Research Center at KAUST. His research focuses on fish and zooplankton ecology using echosounders to study distribution and behavior of pelagic marine organisms. Click here to know more about him.


Ashley Stevens

Before founding Focus IP Group, LLC, an intellectual property consulting company in 2011, Dr. Stevens was Director of the technology transfer office at Boston University for seventeen years.  For ten years he taught a graduate-level, inter-disciplinary course on Technology Commercialization in Boston University's Questrom School of Business and is a Guest Professor at Osaka University, where he continues to teach an intensive version of this course, G-TEC, each summer.  He is a Principal Investigator at the National University of Singapore (Suzhou) Research Institute.  Before joining Boston University, he was Director of the Office of Technology Transfer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School.   Prior to entering the technology transfer profession, Dr. Stevens worked in the biotechnology industry for nearly ten years and co-founded two companies.  He is a Past President of AUTM and has lectured and published extensively on technology transfer, licensing and commercializing early stage technologies.

Dr. Stevens holds a BA in Natural Sciences, an MA and a D.Phil. in Physical Chemistry from Oxford University.  He is a Certified Licensing Professional and a Registered Technology Transfer Professional.

Core Labs

The Core Labs &​ Major Facilities support the KAUST vision by exhibiting an enduring model for advanced education and scientific research.

The Core Labs are composed of nine laboratories organized around one central mission: to provide state-of-the-art facilities, training and services to KAUST faculty, students, researchers, industry and government partners. These laboratories are a prominent feature of the KAUST interdisciplinary research eco-system, with over 135 permanent staff scientists, engineers, specialists, technicians and administra​tion. The laboratories function as a shared-user facility and play a key role in encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration through ease of access and a consistent mode of operation.

Strategically located throughout the academic campus, the laboratories allow users to easily transition between labs in a matter of minutes, from a research vessel to a next-generation genetic sequencing facility or an electron microscope to a virtual reality environment.


These centrally organized, shared facilities provide users with direct access to specialized instruments and services together with the necessary staff expertise. Core Labs staff are available for full-service requests or to train researchers in becoming independent lab users, always ensuring users acquire the highest-quality outputs.

David Keyes

Professor Keyes is the director of the Extreme Computing Research Center at KAUST. He earned a BSE in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences from Princeton University in 1978 and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University in 1984. Prof Keyes works at the interface between parallel computing and the numerical analysis of partial differential equations. Before joining KAUST as a founding dean in 2009, he led DOE scalable solver software projects and taught at Columbia University and Yale.

Dhahran Big Band

In late 2012, the founder members of the Band started to gather musicians for a possible band to play ‘Swing’ music and 11 musicians were soon interested. The first rehearsal took place on 20 January 2013 and the first gig was played on the evening of 17 April 2013 in a closed garden on Aramco Dhahran. This was followed by the Band’s first exposure to the public at Sara Compound on 25 April. The first ‘paid’ gig was overseas at the Sofitel in Bahrain on 21 June 2013.

Gradually, as the Band played more gigs, the word spread and new members came forward or were basically coerced. The current line-up includes a total of around 25 musicians who hail from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Portugal, UK and USA. Although the common language is English, the Band have found various differences between British and American musical terminology.

The Dhahran Big Band practices weekly and aims to arrange a gig or concert around once per month.

The current musical director is Michael Natzke.  

Gordon McConnell

As Head of the Entrepreneurship Center in KAUST since May 2014, Gordon has grown the activities of the center including the development of Teaching & Learning programs, startup accelerators such as the HIKMA IP-based and the REVelate corporate innovation program.

Prior to Saudi Arabia, he was the Associate Vice President of Arizona State University’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group (EIG) and Principal Investigator of the Center of Excellence in Technology Transfer, which was funded by the US department of defense, and an Assistant Professor of Practice. During his time in ASU, his group was ranked in the top 10 in the US for university incubators according to the UBI Global Index. While in ASU he developed several new innovation initiatives including the Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator, which won the U.S. award for Most Promising Technology Based Economic Development in 2013. Previously Gordon was Deputy CEO of the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship in Ireland where he developed new programs such as the Business Innovation Program (accredited) in 2011 and was the founder of the Propeller startup accelerator in 2010. 

Hani Itani

Hani Itani is professional registered architect graduated from the American University of Beirut (1988, BA Architect) and joined KAUST in January 2008 under the capacity of Technical advisor responsible for the academic & administration Buildings & Laboratories. Hani contributed to the design, construction and startup of the operation of the University.

Today as University architect Hani Itani isupports several projects by implementing the KAUST vision, where he believes in sustainability is a new dimension in Saudi Arabia and the whole world.

Innovation and Economic Development

The mission of the Innovation & Economic Development department is to help maximize KAUST’s contribution to the economic diversification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its transformation to a knowledge-based economy.

James Tulley

James Tulley is a member of 'Jeddah Jazz Quartet'.

Whilst studying advanced level Percussion, James’s first drumming assignment was in the early 1980’s in his School (and Alumni) Orchestra - a Jazz/Swing ‘Big Band’ Orchestra called the ‘The Glenntones’, which was named after the famous ‘Big Band’ leader and Jazz Trombonist Glenn Miller. This early introduction to Jazz influenced James’s drumming and percussion style in his work in Musical Theatre in Scotland and also the various musical genres he played throughout the years from; Pop, Rock and even traditional Scottish Ceilidh music.

The Pop band James drummed with in the 1980’s recently released the album of songs on which James featured when they were originally aired nearly 30 years ago. Check out WHITE – 345 Pollokshaws Road on Spotify here. A chance conversation with Paul Riker made the Jazz connection and after 3 years of musical retirement at KAUST, James could not resist the chance to return to the drum kit and to playing some Jazz with some great musicians in the JJ Quartet.

James is a Learning and Development Specialist in the Human Resources department at KAUST.

Jeremy Barbe

Jeremy Barbe is a member of 'Jeddah Jazz Quartet'.

Jeremy Barbe earned a PhD in materials science from Toulouse University in France (2013).

He joined the Solar and Photovoltaics Engineering Research Center of KAUST in April 2014, where he is currently working as a research scientist on thin film solar cells.

Jeremy has been playing saxophone for more than 20 years. He joined many bands during his studies in France and abroad, and played a diverse range of music from salsa to jazz-rock and blues.

He is a great fan of jazz music and highly inspired by musicians like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Stefano Di Battista, Joshua Redman, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock…

In 2015, he founded the Jeddah Jazz Quartet with three other KAUST musicians.

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.

Mark Tester

Professor Mark Tester is a scientist with much energy who is passionate about research and discovery, with a commitment to lifelong learning. He is committed to education and assisting and supporting others in fulfilling their potential. He is focused on high quality science that contributes broadly to both increasing intellectual knowledge of plant function and to increasing the sustainability of the planet.

He has a high level of professional integrity and intellectual rigour, and the quality of his science is reflected in both the quality of his publications and the recognition of these by others. He leads a research program on salinity tolerance in plants at KAUST, as well as in floriculture in his private company, Bioconst.

Professor Tester operates in a broad, cross-disciplinary manner, his science spanning cell biology, whole plant physiology and genetics. He has the capacity to attract significant funding and to implement ideas, such as shown in his building of The Plant Accelerator, from inception to completion, co-ordinating a wide range of expertise from engineers and architects to plant scientists and financial managers.

He has strong financial and administrative management skills, overseeing large projects with significant budgets and many staff. His commercial acumen is clear from his establishment of private companies and successful interactions with multinational companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Pioneer-DuPont. He was, until recently, a Director of Australia’s largest wheat breeding company, Australian Grains Technologies.

Martina Viglasska

Martina was born in Slovakia and studied Garden and Landscape Architecture at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra (Slovakia) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (Austria).

Before joining KAUST she worked as garden designer in Austria.

Martina Joined KAUST in November 2012 and works in the Campus Support Department.

Matthew Tietbohl

Matthew Tietbohl is a Master's Student in the Red Sea Research Center at KAUST. Matthew is also a member of the KAUST Student Green Group. Click here to view his profile on the KAUST Reef Ecology Lab website.

NorEddine Ghaffour

Dr. Noreddine Ghaffour is a Research Professor at WDRC-KAUST. He is an expert in water desalination technologies and its related fields, such as renewable energy-driven and innovative energy-efficient desalination technologies. Click here to visit his KAUST page.

Paul Riker

Paul Riker is a member of 'Jeddah Jazz Quartet'.

Paul has a long background in music, teaching at the collegiate level and composing music and sounds for instruments, electronics, and multimedia. His works have been presented by the VideoX Experimental Video and Film Festival (Zurich), the European Media Art Festival (Onasbruck, Germany), 12 Nights (Miami), FEMF, SEAMUS, SCI, Black Mariah Film Festival, NYCEMF, and others, with performances by ensembles including Cygnus and ICE.

Paul's background in computer music branched into the field of data sonification, audio spatialization in VR, and auditory display.  He joined the KAUST team in 2010 and is currently Audio Scientist for the Visualization Core Lab. 

Peter L. Hoffman

Peter Hoffman is vice president of Intellectual Property Management for The Boeing Company, the world's largest aerospace company. Hoffman is responsible for strategies that protect and generate the highest possible value from this significant corporate asset. Hoffman specifically manages the company's patent portfolio; protection of trade secrets; and licensing of tech nical data, images, consumer products, trademarks and patents. Hoffman, 55, reports to John Tracy, Boeing's chief technology officer and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Operations & Technology.

Prior to being appointed to his current position, Hoffman served as director of global research and development strategy for Boeing Research & Technology, the company's advanced research organization. In that role, he was responsible for developing technology collaboration relationships with companies, universities and national laboratories around the world.

During the past decade, Hoffman played a leadership role in the expansion of Boeing's global technology engagement and presence and was instrumental in the establishment of research centers in Australia, India and China and numerous technology relationships in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. Hoffman joined Boeing in 1984. He has held positions in international business development and spent 14 years conducting research in the area of advanced materials and structures.

In addition to managing Boeing intellectual property, Hoffman also serves as executive sponsor of the Diversity & Inclusion Council for Engineering, Operations & Technology.

Hoffman earned a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering technology and a master's of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee, a master's of manufacturing engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and a master's of international business from St. Louis University. Hoffman is a board member of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center Group at the University of Sheffield in the UK, an Advisory Board member at the University of Tennessee College of Engineering, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Sarah Shalaby

Sarah Shalaby graduated from the University of Greenwich with a first-class honors degree in Architechtural Engineering in 2012. Currently, Sarah is an architect in the EJR team of the KAUST University Support Services Department. Prior to joining KAUST in 2016, she was an architect at Saudi Diyar Consultants and Riwaq Designs in Cairo.

Steve Petruzza

Steve Petruzza is a member of 'The Leftovers'.

A native Italian, Steve started his musical discovery as a self-taught pianist and guitarist. He played with several local bands performing different genres from pop to 70’s rock to jazz ending up as a saxophonist by experiment.

Steve is a visiting student from University of Utah in the Extreme Computing Research Center of KAUST and collects Saudi stamps.

Thomas Skalak

Tom Skalak

Executive Director, Science and Technology, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Tom Skalak joined the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in 2015 as Executive Director, Science and Technology Programs.   The Foundation’s science and technology programs seek to explore new frontiers, re-invent fields in ways that reflect major societal challenges and fundamental scientific curiosity, and bring new knowledge to light with a broad array of partners, making a positive impact on the world.

A major interest of the Foundation is the wide and growing landscape of quantitative bioscience. Previously, Tom was Vice President for Research at the University of Virginia, where he led research and innovation programs spanning biosciences, environmental sustainability, physical sciences, engineering and technology, arts, design, and humanities. Tom led the launch of the OpenGrounds collaboration initiative, bringing people together across fields for ideation; the statewide i6 Virginia Innovation Partnership; and the Global Water Games, a participatory computer game that improves the health of watersheds worldwide.

As a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Tom’s personal research included biomechanics of the cardiovascular system, angiogenesis, computational modeling, systems biology, wound repair, and regenerative medicine. He is a past President of both the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Tom is a frequent speaker on innovation and creativity with Fortune 500, venture capital, major art museum, and government partners, including The White House. He is a Council Member of the GUIRR Research Roundtable, a convening body of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the U.S.

Tom was the founder of the UVA-Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership and other proof-of-concept funds with corporate partners such as Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. One outcome was that the National Venture Capital Association ranked the Charlottesville region the #1 fastest-growing venture capital ecosystem in the United States between 2010-2015.

Tom was educated as a bioengineer at The Johns Hopkins University (B.E.S. 1979) and at the University of California, San Diego (Ph.D. 1984), is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and now enjoys exploring the deep waters of the Pacific Northwest with family and friends.

TorOve Leiknes

Dr. TorOve Leiknes is Director of WDRC and Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at WDRC-KAUST. Research interest focuses on advanced water treatment. Click here to visit his KAUST page.


Vanessa Robitzch

Dr. Vanessa Robitzch was born on San Andres Isla, in the Colombian Caribbean. Amazed by the magnitude of our oceans and its mysterious inhabitant, she went on to study a Bachelor of Science in biology, at the University of Regensburg, Germany. She continued with a Masters in International Studies of Aquatic Tropical Ecology (ISATEC) at the Center for Marine Tropics (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany. In Fall, 2013, she joined the Reef Ecology Lab at KAUST as a PhD student in marine biology. Currently, Vanessa works as a postdoctoral research assistant for the Laboratory of Genomics and Molecular Ecology, in the Faculty of Ecology and Evolutionary Sciences at the Austral University of Chile (UACh), Valdivia.

Xabier Irigoien

Professor Irigoien is the director of the Red Sea Research Center at KAUST. His research is focused on the understanding the functioning of pelagic marine ecosystems. He has interests on trophic control of recruiting mechanisms and on factors controlling biodiversity. Click here and here to learn more about him.

Yaseen Jan

Yaseen is a mechanical engineer in charge of project management at KAUST. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at King Abdul-Aziz University in 2010 and a Master of Science in Engineering Technology Management from Western Kentucky University in 2014