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Prof. Rabih Halwani Clinical Sciences Dept Academic RankProfessor

Specialization:

  • Immunology

Research Interests:

  • Development of Novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases; Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in chronic inflammation, with a focus on Asthma; discovery of novel genetic variants associated with Primary Immunodeficiency diseases; and vaccine development.

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Ph.D. Microbiology and Immunology. 2004 McGill University/Aids Center, Montreal, Canada Master of Science. Microbiology and Immunology. 1997 American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Bachelor of Science. Medical Lab Technology. 1995 American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
[ 2019-present] Professor of Immunology, Clinical Sciences Department, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE. [ 2018- 2019] Associate Director, College of Medicine Research Center (CMRC), College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [ 2009- 2019] Scientific Director. Immunology Research Laboratory; Asthma Research Chair; College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [ 2018-2019 ] Professor of Immunology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [ 2014- 2018] Associate Professor. College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [ 2009- 2014] Assistant Professor. College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
• [2018-2019] Head of Research Committee, Pediatrics Department, College of Medicine, KKUH, KSU. • [2018-2019] Member of Animal Ethics Committee, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia • [2018-2019] Head of intra-faculty collaborative research Committee, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia • [2017-2019] Member of Dallah Grant Committee, College of Medicine, KKUH, KSU. • [ 2013-2015] Member of Equipment and establishment Committee of Prince Naif Bin AbdelAziz Health Research Center. • [2010-2012] Member of the Founding Committee of Prince Naif Bin AbdelAziz Health Research Center. • Editorial board member, Clinical and Experimental Allergy • Editorial board member, Journal of Nature and Science of Medicine (JNSM).
• Member of American Thoracic Society • Member of European Academy for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). • Member of INSERM unit, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. • Member of International AIDS Society (IAS), USA.
• Novel nanoparticle approach for the treatment of Chronic Rhinosinusitis. • Modulating T cell inhibitory signalling pathways in chronic inflammation using a targeted antibody-nanocarrier approach. • Discovery of novel genetic variants associated with Primary Immunodeficiency diseases.
1. Fahad Alsohaim, Marta Martin-Fernandez, ….., Rabih Halwani, Ahmad Amer Al Boukai, Hamdy H Hassan, Saleh Al-muhsen, Nouf Alkhamis, Zobaida Alsum, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Jacinta Bustamante, Dusan Bogunovic, Abdullah A. Alangari. Rescue of a Child with Inherited USP18 Deficiency with a JAK Inhibitor. In Press. NEJM. 2. Alodayani AN, Al-Otaibi AM, …., Rattina V, AlZahrani M, Halwani R, Al Sohime F, ….., Bustamante J. Mendelian Susceptibility to Mycobacterial Disease Caused by a Novel Founder IL12B Mutation in Saudi Arabia. J Clin Immunol. 2018 Apr;38(3):278-282. 3. Shen-Ying Zhang, Nathaniel E. Clark, Catherine A. Freije, ….Emilia Faria, Rabih Halwani, Rie Fukuhara, …., Amos Etzioni, Jean-Laurent Casanova. Inborn errors of lariat metabolism in humans with viral infections of the brainstem. Cell. 2018 Feb 22;172(5):952-965.e18. (IF: 30.4). 4. Rabih Halwani*, Alejandro Vazquez-Tello, Rosan Kenana, ….Saleh Al-Muhsen. Association of IL-13 rs20541 and rs1295686 variants with symptomatic asthma in a Saudi Arabian population. Journal of Asthma, 2017 Dec 6:1-9. (*Corresponding author). 5. Rabih Halwani* , Asma Sultana Alejandro Vazquez-Tello , Amer Jamhawi , Abeer A. Al-Masri , & Saleh Al-Muhsen. Th-17 regulatory cytokines IL-21, IL-23, and IL-6 enhance neutrophil production of IL-17 cytokines during asthma. Journal of Asthma. 2017. March 2: 1-12. 6. Alkharfy KM, Jan BL, Afzal S, Al-Jenoobi FI, Al-Mohizea AM, Al-Muhsen S, Halwani R, Parvez MK, Al-Dosari MS. Prevalence of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase polymorphisms (UGT1A6∗2, 1A7∗12, 1A8∗3, 1A9∗3, 2B7∗2, and 2B15∗2) in a Saudi population. Saudi Pharm J. 2017 Feb;25(2):224-230. 7. Rabih Halwani, Alejandro Vazquez-Tello, Nour Horanieh, Said Dulgom, Zuhair Assiri, Hamdan Al-Jahdali, Saleh Al-Muhsen,. Risk factors hindering asthma symptoms control in Saudi children and adolescents. Pediatrics International. 2017 Jun;59(6):661-668. 8. Roua Al-Kufaidy, Alejandro Vazquez-Tello, Ahmed S. BaHammam, Qutayba Hamid, Saleh Al-Muhsen, and Rabih Halwani*. IL-17 enhances the migration of B cells during asthma by inducing CXCL-13 chemokine production in structural lung cells. JACI, Sept. 14, 2016. (IF: 12.5). 9. Rabih Halwani*, Asma Sultana, Ratemi, E, Sibtain Afzal, Kenana, R, Saleh Al-Muhsen, Achraf Al Faraj. A novel anti-IL4R alpha nanoparticles efficiently controls lung inflammation during asthma. Experimental and molecular medicine. 2016 Oct 7;48 (10):e262 (IF: 5.19) (Nature group) 10. Ratemi E, Sultana Shaik A, Al Faraj A, Halwani R*. Alternative approaches for the treatment of airway diseases: focus on nanoparticle medicine. Clin Exp Allergy. 2016 Aug;46(8):1033-42. Review. 11. Alkhayal KA, Awadalia ZH, Vaali-Mohammed MA, Al Obeed OA, Al Wesaimer A, Halwani R, Zubaidi AM, Khan Z, Abdulla MH. Association of Vitamin D Receptor Gene Polymorphisms with Colorectal Cancer in a Saudi Arabian Population. PLoS One. 2016 Jun16;11 (6):e0155 236. 12. Al Faraj A, Shaik AS, Ratemi E, Halwani R. Combination of drug-conjugated SWCNT nanocarriers for efficient therapy of cancer stem cells in a breast cancer animal model. J Control Release. 2016 Jan 29;225:240-251. 13. Halwani R*, Sultana A, Al-Kufaidy R, Jamhawi A, Vazquez-Tello A, Al-Muhsen S. Th-17 regulatory cytokines inhibit corticosteroid induced airway structural cells apoptosis. Respir Res. 2016 Jan 16;17(1):6. 14. Binkhathlan Z, Badran MM, Alomrani A, Aljuffali IA, Alghonaim M, Al-Muhsen S, Halwani R, Alshamsan A. Reutilization of Tacrolimus Extracted from Expired Prograf (R) Capsules: Physical, Chemical, and Pharmacological Assessment. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2016 Aug;17(4):978-87. 15. Al Faraj A, Shaik AS, Afzal S, Al-Muhsen S, Halwani R. Specific targeting and noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging of an asthma biomarker in the lung using polyethylene glycol functionalized magnetic nanocarriers. Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2016 May;11(3):172-83. 16. Al Faraj A, Shaik AS, Al Sayed B, Halwani R, Al Jammaz I. Specific targeting and noninvasive imaging of breast cancer stem cells using single-walled carbon nanotubes as novel multimodality nanoprobes. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2016 Jan;11(1):31-46. 17. Alexandra Y. Kreins, Ciancanelli MJ, ……Sundin M, Avery DT, Rabih Halwani, Grant AV, Boisson B, ……. J, Casanova JL, Boisson-Dupuis S. Human TYK2 deficiency: Mycobacterial and viral infections without hyper-IgE syndrome. J Exp Med. 2015 Sep 21;212(10):1641-62. 18. Satoshi Okada, Janet G. Markle, Elissa K. Deenick, Federico Mele, Dina Averbuch, Macarena Lagos, Mohammed Alzahrani, Saleh Al-Muhsen, Rabih Halwani, Ma CS,....... J, Tangye SG, Casanova JL. IMMUNODEFICIENCIES. Impairment of immunity to Candida and Mycobacterium in humans with bi-allelic RORC mutations. Science, 2015 Aug 7;349(6248):606-13. . (IF: 37.2). 19. Rabih Halwani, Roua M. S. Alkufeidy, Mary Angeline Pureza, Alejandro Vazquez-Tello, Ahmed Bahammam, Hamdan Al-Jahdali, Qutayba Hamid and Saleh Al-Muhsen. IL-17 Enhances Chemotaxis of Primary Human B Cells during Asthma. PLOS ONE, 2014 Dec 10;9. 20. Mohamed El-Far, Catherine Isabelle, Nicolas Chomont, Martin Bourbonnière, Simone Fonseca, …., Rabih Halwani, Olivier Schwartz, Joaquín Madrenas, Gordon J. Freeman, Jean-Pierre Routy, Elias K. Haddad and Rafick-Pierre Sékaly. Down-regulation of CTLA-4 by HIV-1 Nef protein. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54295. 21. Halwani R, Vaccari M, Patterson LJ, Boasso A, Beal J, Tryniszewska E, Hryniewicz A, Venzon D, Haddad EK, El-Far M, ….., Sekaly RP, Franchini G. Antibodies to gp120 and PD-1 Expression on Virus-Specific CD8(+) T Cells in Protection from Simian AIDS. Journal of Virology. 2013 Mar;87(6):3526-37. Epub 2013 Jan 16. 22. Halwani R, Boyer JD, Yassine-Diab B, Haddad EK, Robinson TM, Kumar S, Parkinson R, Wu L, Sidhu MK, Phillipson-Weiner R, Pavlakis GN, Felber BK, Lewis MG, Shen A, Siliciano RF, Weiner DB, Sekaly RP. Therapeutic Vaccination with SIV DNA+IL-12, IL-15 induces distinct CD8 memory subsets in SIV-infected macaques. J Immunol. 2008. Jun 15;180(12):7969-7979 23. Rabih Halwani, Mehrnoosh Doroudchi, Bader Yassine-Diab, Loury Janbazian, Yu Shi, Elias Said, Rafick-Pierre Sékaly. Generation and maintenance of human memory cells during viral infection. Springer Semin Immunopathol., 2006. Nov;28(3):197-208. 24. Rabih Halwani, Cen S., Javanbakht H, Kim S, Shiba K., Musier-Forsyth K., and L. Kleiman. The Cellular Distribution of Lysyl-tRNA Synthetase and its Interaction with Gag during HIV-1 Assembly. J Virol. 2004. 78 (14): 7553-64 25. Kleiman, L, R. Halwani, and H. Javanbakht. The selective packaging and annealing of primer tRNALys3 in HIV-1. Curr HIV Res. 2004. Apr; 2 (2): 163-75. Review. 26. Javanbakht H, Rabih Halwani, Cen S, Saadatmand J, Musier-Forsyth K, Gottlinger H, and L. Kleiman. The interaction between HIV-1 gag and human lysyl-tRNA synthetase during viral assembly. J Biol Chem. 2003. 278 (30):27644-51 27. Rabih Halwani, Khorchid A., Cen S., and L. Kleiman. Rapid localization of Gag/GagPol complexes to detergent-resistant membrane during the assembly of HIV-1. J Virol. 2003. 77(7): 3973-84. 28. Rabih Halwani, Khorchid A.*, Wainberg M.A., and L. Kleiman. Role of RNA in facilitating Gag/GagPol interaction. J Virol. 2002. 76: 4131-4137 (*co-1st auther)
- 2012-2016. Roua Al-Kufaidy. PhD Degree. Role of Interleukin-17 (IL-17) in the recruitment of B cells to the lung tissue during asthma. KSU, Saudi Arabia. - 2015-preent. Maha Enazi. PhD Degree. Role of cytokines, IL-35 and IL-37 in suppressing lung tissue inflammation during asthma via the regulation of Breg and Treg cells. KSU, Saudi Arabia - 2018-present. Sara Dthikri. MS degree (Co-Supervisor) Identifying potential Novel genes involved in familial non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. KSU, Saudi Arabia. - 2010-2013. Zienab Hamad. MS degree (Co-Supervisor). Genetic modifiers of stroke and gallstones risk in sickle cell disease. KSU, Saudi Arabia. - [ 2013-2015] Alanoud Almutairi. MS degree (Co-Supervisor). Polymorphisms in TGF-β -BMP pathway and ADRB1 and The Severity of Sickle Cell Disease. KSU, Saudi Arabia.
[2017] King Saud University Award for Scientific Excellence. FIRST RANK, Branch: Research Quality Award Award Presented by his Excellency Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Governor of Riyadh province. Riyadh, 25 May, 2017. [2016] King Saud University Award for Scientific Excellence. Branch: Elite Journals Publishing Award Award Presented by his Excellency Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Governor of Riyadh province. Riyadh, 16 May, 2016. [2015] Best Abstract PRIZE. World Allergy Congress (WAC) 2015. Seoul, Korea, 14-17 Oct, 2015. [2015] First place Best Abstract Award. Gulf Thoracic Society meeting (GTS) 2015. Dubai, UAE, 4-7 March, 2015. [2014] Best Abstract PRIZE. European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) 2014. Copenhagen, Denmark, 7-11 June, 2014. [2010] Outstanding Poster Award. World Allergy Organization (WAO) 2010. Dubai. 5-8 December. [2003-2004] Doctoral Research Award 63, 000 CAD$ Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) [2002-2003] Faculty of Medicine Internal Studentship Award 30, 000 CAD$. McGill University Grants Awarded [2017 -2019] Association of exposure to Saudi sandstorm dust with increased risk of asthma hospitalization: Role of dust particles components in asthma pathogenesis. 12-MED2892-02-R (1,998,000 SR) Role: Principal investigator. Granting Agency: The National Plan for Science and Technology (NPST), King Saud University, Riyadh, SA. Consultants and Collaborators: Prof. Qutayba Hamid (McGill University, Montreal, Canada); Prof. Donna Davies (University of Southampton, UK); Dr. Chris Grainge (University of Southampton, UK) and Prof. Professor Damon Teagle (University of Southampton, UK). [2017 -2019] Attenuate T cell immune responses during airway inflammation by modulating inhibitory signalling pathways using a targeted antibody-nanocarrier approach monitored non-invasively via MRI. 14-MED683-02-R (1,998,000 SR) Role: Principal investigator. Granting Agency: The National Plan for Science and Technology (NPST), King Saud University, Riyadh, SA. (2016). [2016 -2019] Corona Research Group. (150,000 SR) Granting Agency: Deanship of scientific research, Role: Principal investigator. [2017 -2019] Role of newly discovered Breg cells and its regulatory anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-35 in the pathogenesis of asthma. Granting Agency: Deanship of scientific research, Jan, 2016. Role: Supervisor (Student Grant project) (25,000 SR) [2017 -2019] Eosinophil apoptosis using siRNA loaded magnetic nanoparticles for improved Asthma therapy and diagnosis using noninvasive MRI Granting Agency: NPST, 2016. Role: Co-Investigator. (1,980,000 SR) [2017 -2019] Research Grant number 14-MED1053-02 Granting Agency: The National Plan for Science and Technology (NPST), King Saud University, Riyadh, SA. Proposal Title: Genome-Wide Sequencing of Serum microRNAs: Exploring Next Generation Biomarkers for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Sepsis in Saudi Children Role: Co-investigator. (1,800,000 SR) [2015 -2017] Research Grant Granting Agency: KACST. Proposal Title: Identifying the Immune correlates of protection during TB infection. PI: Dr. Fahad Al-Majed Role: Co-investigator. [2013 -2015] Research Grant number 12-MED2536-02 Granting Agency: The National Plan for Science and Technology (NPST), King Saud University, Riyadh, SA. Proposal Title: Novel nanocarriers for the direct and efficient delivery of blocking antibodies to asthmatic lungs: noninvasive tracking using MRI Role: Co-investigator. (1,800,000 SR) [2012 -2014] Research Grant number 02-MED1224-10 (1,409,000 SR) Granting Agency: National Plan for Science and Technology (NPST), King Saud University, Riyadh, SA. Proposal Title: Role of IL-17 Cytokine in the recruitment of B cells into bronchial lung tissue during asthma. Role: Principal investigator. [2010 -2012] Research Grant number 02-BIO97-09 (Completed) (1,200,000 SR) Granting Agency: The National Plan for Science and Technology (NPST), King Saud University, Riyadh, SA. Proposal Title: Role of Eosinophils in the Proliferation of Airway Smooth Muscles in Asthma Role: Principal investigator. [2010 -2012] Research Grant (60,000 US$) Source: Merck & co “MSD”, Saudi Arabia. Proposal Title: Eosinophils enhance the Proliferation of Airway Smooth Muscles in Asthma. Role: Co-investigator. [2011 -2013] Research Grant (60,000 US$) Source: Merck & co “MSD”, Saudi Arabia. Proposal Title: Novel genetic variations contributing to Asthma susceptibility in Saudi Arabia Role: Co-investigator. [2005-2008] Post-Doc Fellowship 135, 000 CAD$ Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
My teaching philosophy is centered around my belief that students should be co-producers and key contributors to their learning process. I encourage my students to use new technologies during or after class, which improve their learning experience. Moreover, I integrate the knowledge and experience I gained throughout my career as a researcher into my teaching process. Many of the examples I use to facilitate the learning process root from my practical experience. Discussing actual applications of the taught material and, when possible, giving the chance to the student to apply what they learned, will markedly improve understanding and increase the depth of learning. Practical applicability of the material learnt, in a real-life example or a research task, improves its memory retention to be used later in real-life scenarios.
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