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Dr. Souhaila Al Khodor
Director of Maternal and Child Health division
Sidra Medicine

Director of Maternal and Child Health division in the research branch at Sidra Medicine, since July 2019 and an Investigator since January 2015. Dr. Al Khodor is interested in studying the role of the microbiome in health and disease, with a particular emphasis on maternal and child health. In her projects, Dr. Al Khodor uses integration of metagenomics with other omics aiming to identify predictive markers for various diseases and pathological conditions.


Dr. Cristina Maccalli
Principal investigator of the laboratory of Immune and Biological Therapy
Sidra Medicine

Principal investigator of the laboratory of Immune and Biological Therapy at Sidra Medicine since 2015. Her lab is focused on the development of cell-based therapies for cancer patients and the identification of biomarkers correlating with the immune responsiveness of patients undergoing immune-therapy using a combination of various omics and innovative immune functional assays.

Keynote Speaker


Prof. Lisa H. Butterfield
Vice President, PICI Research and Development at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

Lisa H. Butterfield, Ph.D. is the Vice President, PICI Research and Development at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and an Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, University California San Francisco. At PICI, she supports cell therapy initiatives and clinical trial biospecimen and biomarker projects, and leads the Scholars and Fellows program. Her research is focused on cancer vaccines and cellular therapies for melanoma, hepatocellular cancer and other tumor types. Dr. Butterfield was most recently Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Immunology and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh (2003-2018) and Director of the Hillman Cancer Center Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory. She has a PhD in Biology from UCLA, followed by postdoctoral fellowships in Cellular Immunology and Cancer Gene Therapy also at UCLA. She was the first female President of the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC, 2017-2018) and a member of the SITC Executive Committee (2015-2020). She helped create the SITC Women’s Leadership Institute program. She led the Immunology Reference Lab for the ECOG-ACRIN NCI cooperative group (2006-2018) and collaborates on biomarker studies in many clinical trials. She investigates immunotherapy for hepatocellular cancer and melanoma, involving peptides, dendritic cells and adenoviruses, and effector responses to tumor antigens. She has published over 175 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews and book chapters, and mentored over 20 students and postdocs. She is a co-Editor of the SITC textbook “Cancer Immunotherapy: Principles and Practice” 1st and 2nd editions



Dr. Hadi Mohamad Abu Rasheed
Head of the Professional Development and Scientific Research Department
Qatar Cancer Society (QCS)

Dr. Hadi is the Head of the Professional Development and Scientific Research Department at the Qatar Cancer Society (QCS); and the representative member of the QCS in the National Cancer Committee in Qatar, the Gulf Federation for Cancer Control, the Union International for Cancer Control, the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and the All.Can International.
Dr. Hadi graduated from the University of Aleppo – Faculty of Medicine in Syria and completed his post-graduate training at the University of Iowa in the USA.


Dr. Nahla Afifi
Director Qatar Biobank

Dr. Nahla Afifi earned her MBBCh with honors, Master of Anatomy and Embryology and Diploma of Gynecology and Obstetrics from Ain Shams University, Egypt.  She earned her PhD. with joints supervision from UMD, NJ, USA.     She started her career as a Medical Researcher in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, UMD, NJ, USA then proceeded her academic career at Ain Shams University, Dubai Medical College for Girls, UAE and Qatar University. She was promoted to full professor of Anatomy and Embryology in 2007.  In 2013 she joined QF as Education and Scientific Manager and in 2017 was appointed as the Director Qatar Biobank.


Dr. Sawssan Ahmed
Clinical Psychologist in the Women’s Mental Health Clinic
Sidra Medicine

Dr. Sawssan Ahmed is a Clinical Psychologist in the Women’s Mental Health Clinic at Sidra Medicine. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology with specializations in quantitative methods and community psychology and completed her postdoctoral training in developmental issues and health disparities at Wayne State University and the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Ahmed's research focuses on the relationship between sociocultural risk and protective factors and physical and mental health in people of color with a specific interest in Arab and Muslim populations. Dr. Ahmed was a co-investigator on a National Institute of Health-funded study focused on the relationship between racism, behavioral factors and psychological and physical health in Arab-American adolescents Dr. Ahmed is the lead Principal Investigator on a research study that explores the validity of depression and anxiety screening measures in pregnant Arabic speaking women and was recently awarded a Qatar National Research Fund grant to culturally adapt and investigate the outcomes of a psychological intervention to prevent postpartum depression and anxiety in Arabic speaking women receiving perinatal services in Qatar. She has authored several publications on the role of risk and protective factors as well as culturally competent clinical work with Arab and Muslim communities.

Al Bader

Dr. Salha Bujassoum Al Bader
Medical Oncologist/Hematologist
Chairperson of medical oncology and palliative care medicine
Associate professor -Qatar University -Medical Collage
Clinical faculty for master of genetic counselling -Qatar University
National Center for Cancer Care and Research- Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Dr. Salha Bujassoum, Sr. Consultant, Medical Oncology at the National Centre for Cancer Care & Research. Chairperson of medical oncology and palliative, care medicine, director of cancer genetic. In addition she is holding multiple position in Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) such as Clinical Lead of Breast cancer program since 2005-till present, Lead of National Clinical Advisory Board of Qatar Breast Cancer and, Director of cancer Genetics .Assistant chair of HMC – Precision Medicine Committee.


Dr. Matteo Avella
Investigator in Maternal and Child Health Division
Sidra Medicine

Dr. Avella received his undergraduate degree (Biology major) at the University of Milan, Bicocca (Italy) and his Ph.D. at the Polytechnic University of Marche (Italy) while performing part of his graduate studies on fish reproductive biology at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore, USA.

He then joined the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda as a post-doctoral fellow. At the NIH, Dr. Avella used mouse genetics to study the molecular mechanisms of mammalian gamete recognition and fertilization. In 2016, Dr. Avella pursued further his interests in human reproduction by joining the IVF program at Shady Grove Fertility in Pennsylvania.

In 2018, Dr. Avella joined the Department of Biological Science at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma as Assistant Professor of Genetics. Dr. Avella has recently joined Sidra Medicine as Principal Investigator where he will be using zebrafish, mouse and human models to identify the genetic causes of women’s infertility.


Dr. Hind Elmalik
Sr. Consultant Medical Oncologist at NCCCR
Hamad Medical Corporation

Dr. Hind Elmalik is a Sr. Consultant Medical Oncologist at the National Center for Cancer Care & research (NCCCR) at Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar, with special interest in gyne-oncology.

Dr. Hind is a Sudanese American. Born in Khartoum Sudan where she had her early schooling and then went to graduate from Qasr Al Aini in Cairo, Egypt. After a few years of rotation in various subspecialties, she joined the Arab Board Fellowship program in Internal Medicine at HMC and obtained her Certification in 2006. In the same year she also obtained her MRCP(UK). She then decided to take up Medical Oncology at the NCCCR in 2012 and promoted to Consultant. She then obtained the Certificate of the European Society for medical Oncology and the Specialty in Medical Oncology form the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom.

Dr. Elmalik is appointed as assistant professor of clinical medicine in WCMQ (Weil Cornell Medical college in Qatar) in 2017

She got interested in Gynecologic Oncology and lead the gyne-oncology multidisciplinary team from medical oncology side and runs a specialized joint gyne-oncology clinic with gynecology surgeons, as well as breast oncology clinic.

Dr. Hind Elmalik is an active member of several international gynecological groups including ESGO, IGCS, EOTTD , ISTTD , PARSGO  and Middle East and North Africa (MENA)/NCCN Ovarian cancer group.

Her research interest focus on gynecological cancer special interest in Gestational Trophoblastic Disease GTD and has several publications in this field. She is looking forward to establish a data base for women’s cancer in collaboration with her colleagues form the (Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as other parts of the world.


Dr.Najat Khenyab
Consultant OBGYN, Head of Fetal Medicine Unit

Main clinical interest is obstetrics and fetal medicine.
Currently the National Lead for Healthy Women Leading to Healthy Pregnancy in NHS 2018-2022.


Dr. Zainab Imam
Attending Physician

Dr. Zainab Imam obtained her medical degree in 1991 from The University of Ibadan in Nigeria following which she trained at the University College Hospital in Ibadan and worked at The National Hospital, Abuja at Nigeria in General Practice before moving to the United Kingdom (UK) where she retrained as a General Adult Psychiatrist and she has worked in Psychiatry since 2007 (over 10 years). She has specialist registration (CCT) in General Adult Psychiatry with endorsement in Rehabilitation Psychiatry. She also has Sub Specialty interests in Perinatal Psychiatry and Early Intervention in Psychosis. She is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and she holds a One Year Intermediate Certificate of the University of Plymouth in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.


Dr. Osman Ortashi
Senior Attending Physician

Dr. Ortashi is an experienced Gynecologist & Obstetrician, with over 20 years’ experience, he completed his training in Cardiff and Bristol. Thereafter he worked as Lead for Gynecology & Colposcopy service at North Devon Hospital as well as NHS cervical cancer hospital based program coordinator for North Devon Region. He was member of South East lead colposcopiests committee and member of Devon gynecology oncology network. Dr. Ortashi has an excellent experience in obstetrics that expand over three continents and consolidated by working under different settings and resources. He is well known regional figure in advanced pelvic and laparoscopic surgery. Before joining Sidra he was working for UAE University and Mediclinic Hospital and was coordinator for Abu Dhabi cervical cancer screening committee and member of UAE national cancer reduction committee. Dr Ortashi is sitting on many regional academic committees as well as on many advisory boards For HPV vaccination. He has published many original research on screening for cervical cancer & HPV vaccination.


Dr. Annalisa Terranegra, PhD
Principal Investigator – Assistant Level
Laboratory of Precision Nutrition - Mother and Child Health Division

Dr. Terranegra obtained her MSc degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena, Italy, both PhD in Molecular Medicine and Post-graduate Diploma in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Milan, Italy. Before to join Sidra Medicine in 2014, Dr. Terranegra achieved strong experience in molecular biology and genetics during her career at the University of Milan, Italy, San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy and San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy (2001-2014). Dr. Terranegra has extensive teaching experience as Assistant Professor at University of Milan, Italy (2003-2014). Dr. Terranegra currently covers the position of adjunct Assistant Professor both in the college of Health and Life Sciences at Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar and in the College of Health Sciences at Qatar University, Qatar. At Sidra Medicine, Dr. Terranegra leads the Laboratory of Precision Nutrition (PreNutri Lab) that is interested to characterize the mechanisms underlying the role of food and nutrients in the development and the management of pregnancy complications, infertility, and pediatric non-communicable diseases. The PreNutri lab research projects focus on understanding the effect of diet on gut microbiota and epigenetic mechanisms, as well as diet interaction with the genomic background, using the most advanced technologies, such as bacterial 16S rRNA-sequencing, DNA-methylation arrays, DNA genotyping and nutritional assessment.


Dr. Aisha Ahmad AA Yousuf
Medical Director, Reproductive Surgery

Dr. Aisha Ahmad AA Yousuf is the medical director of reproductive surgery at Sidra Medicine. She specializes in robotic and minimally invasive gynecology surgery. Dr. Yousuf contributed significantly to multiple baseline projects to establish the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Sidra Medicine. Her research interests focus on pelvic floor disorders and anatomy as well as surgical and medical educations. Dr. Yousuf graduated from Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar (WCMC-Q) and completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency program from the University ofMichigan Hospital. She completed her minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and pelvic floor reconstruction fellowship at the University of Toronto in St. MichealHospital. She is an American board certified physician and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).