Khaled Machaca, an accomplished professor of physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, is a highly regarded member of our esteemed Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Hailing from Beirut, Lebanon, Khaled's path to becoming a renowned scientist was not predestined. However, his natural inclination towards science and penchant for tinkering paved the way for his future scientific pursuits.
Starting with a bachelor's degree in agriculture engineering from the American University of Beirut, Khaled initially had no intentions of pursuing research. Nevertheless, during his graduate studies at the University of Georgia, a research assistant position exposed him to the fascinating world of biochemical mechanisms governing cell death, igniting his passion for research. This newfound interest led him to pursue a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology at Emory University.
At Emory, Khaled delved into the genetic mechanisms controlling C. elegans spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis. Combining genetic approaches with electrophysiological recordings, he explored the regulation of ionic currents in cellular physiology, discovering his fascination with biophysics and the real-time manipulation of experiments.
Following his Ph.D., Khaled conducted postdoctoral work at Emory, investigating the role and regulation of calcium-activated chloride channels in frog oocytes using the Xenopus laevis model system. He later established his own laboratory as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, focusing on animal reproduction, oocyte maturation, and the regulation of calcium signaling pathways during cellular differentiation.
Khaled's dedication to scientific research led him to his current positions at Weill Cornell Medicine and Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar. When he relocated to Qatar nearly a decade ago, the scientific research landscape was in its early stages. However, Khaled embraced the opportunity to contribute to the establishment of a robust research enterprise in alignment with Qatar's vision of transitioning to a knowledge-based economy.
Currently, Khaled's research spans various areas, including non-genomic signaling downstream of the membrane progesterone receptor, regulation of store-operated calcium entry (SOCE), the role of calcium signaling in cancer metastasis, and calcium tunneling. Through his laboratory and administrative role as associate dean for research, he strives to make a significant impact on national and institutional research efforts by translating scientific discoveries into actionable initiatives that improve individual health.
Balancing his dual role as an academic administrator and an active researcher presents challenges, but Khaled overcomes them by restructuring his lab and fostering collaboration among senior and junior colleagues. He ensures ongoing support, guidance, and spirited discussions on research projects, cultivating an enthusiastic and exploratory research environment. Khaled's commitment to scientific advancement and his influential role on our SAB greatly enhances our collective expertise.