Dr. Ahmad is the Director of the Genomics Center at Al Jalila Children’s, and an Associate Professor of Genetics at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences. He completed his doctoral studies in genetics at Dartmouth College, followed by a fellowship in molecular diagnostics at Dartmouth Medical School. In 2013, he joined Harvard Medical School where he completed his clinical molecular genetics fellowship and, in 2015, became board-certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG). Dr. Abou Tayoun is a fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Prior to joining Al Jalila Children’s, he was a director in the Division of Genomic Diagnostics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and also an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
To support clinicians in various specialties at CHOP, Dr. Ahmad developed genomic sequencing-based diagnostic tests for a range of pediatric disorders. He also developed and published several tools and clinical assays involving next-generation sequencing and variant interpretation. Dr. Abou Tayoun serves on several international expert groups in his field. He is a co-chair of the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) Hearing Loss Expert Group, a member of the ClinGen Sequence Variant Interpretation group, and also a member of American College of Genetics and Genomics Interpreting Sequence Variants workgroup. In those capacities, Dr. Abou Tayoun is working with international experts to establish guidelines and recommendations for sequence variant interpretation in genomic diagnostic settings.
Dr. Abou Tayoun’s main research interests are centered around characterizing the genomic landscape of pediatric diseases in the Middle East, and cataloguing the normal genetic variation in this population. In addition, he is one of the leaders in driving national efforts to characterize the epidemiological and genomic characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 in the UAE, and to identify host genetics factors and RNA expression profiles modulating COVID-19 disease severity.
Alan Taylor is an American board certified genetic counsellor who received his MS in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University in 2016. After graduation, he held a joint position between the Epilepsy Genetics Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Claritas Genomics, a genetic testing laboratory. In his role at Boston Children’s, he provided genetic counselling to patients and families within the clinic while in his role at Claritas, he interpreted and reported genomic test results. In 2017, he expanded his clinical experience by joining the Neurometabolic and Mitochondrial Disease Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Alan joined Al Jalila Children’s in 2018 and provides genetic counselling to families who have a genetic diagnosis or are planning to pursue genetic testing.
Born and raised in India, Shruti Shenbagam is an American board-certified genetic counsellor. She received her MS in Genetic Counselling from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2017. Post-graduation, she worked for two years as a prenatal and pediatric genetic counsellor at Valley Children's Hospital. Following this, she moved to India where she practiced as a freelance genetic counsellor working with both North American and Indian companies further specializing in prenatal, cancer, adult, and general genetic counselling.
Shruti joined Al Jalila Children’s Hospital in 2022 and provides genetic counselling to patients and families with a genetic diagnosis and those seeking genetic testing.
Maha El Naofal joined the Al Jalila Children's Genomics Centre in 2018. Maha is responsible for managing the daily running of the laboratory and the execution of the assays in the lab including Next Generation Sequencing and Chromosomal Microarrays. She has previously worked at the Houston Methodist Research Institute and undergone clinical rotations at top tier genetic laboratories including Baylor Miraca and MD Anderson Cancer Center in America. Maha El Naofal is certified in Molecular Biology (MB) and Cytogenetics (CG) by the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP). She earned her Master’s Degree in Diagnostic Genetics from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center SHP.
Nour Halabi is a Master of Science graduate in Genetics of Human Disease. Nour graduated from University College London, one of the top 10 universities worldwide. Nour has worked as a research assistant in Molecular Genetics at The Sharjah Institute for Medical Research. She joined Al Jalila Genomics Center as a Molecular Biology Technologist in 2021. Nour is responsible for the daily running of the laboratory in addition to the execution of the assays in the lab including Next Generation Sequencing and Chromosomal Microarrays.
Ruchi Jain is responsible for the analysis, interpretation and identification of pathogenic variants within the genomic data generated from clinical samples. She is also involved in research projects including sequencing of the UAE Covid-19 strain and analysing Transcriptome data. Ruchi obtained her PhD in bioinformatics from the Bharathiar University, India, in 2015. After her PhD she joined Indian Institute of Science as a Post-Doctoral Associate and bioinformatician where she led various next generation sequencing, microarray and epigenetics projects. Her post-doctoral research was focused on identification and validation of the genes and pathways in triple negative breast cancers. She has authored several peer- reviewed scientific publications. Ruchi joined the genomics team at Al Jalila Children’s Hospital in April 2020.
Sathishkumar Ramaswamy is responsible for analyzing next-generation sequencing and chromosomal microarray data, including whole genome, clinical exome and gene panels. He is actively involved in developing the bioinformatics pipelines for genomic analysis. He closely works with the IT team to setting up the servers and analysis platforms for the Genomic Lab. He holds a PhD in Bioinformatics from Bharathiar University, India. His PhD research was focused on molecular dynamics and simulation of potential inhibitors for neurodegenerative disease. He has held various scientific positions in both academia and biotech industry with a total experience of 11 years in the field of bioinformatics and Next Generation Sequencing. He has worked on various challenging projects involving Whole Exome Sequencing, RNAseq, ChipSeq and genome assembly from a range of organisms. He has successfully developed and optimized analysis pipelines for nanopore sequencing data. He was awarded a research fellowship from the Department of Information Technology and Department of Biotechnology from the Indian Government for his research.
Sawsan Yaslam joined the Al Jalila Children's Genomics Centre as a Molecular Biology Technologist in 2021. Sawsan is responsible for the daily running of the laboratory in addition to the execution of the assays in the lab including Next Generation Sequencing and Chromosomal Microarrays. Sawsan has a Master degree in Molecular biology and biotechnology from UAEU, the top university in UAE. She worked previously as a cancer research assistant in UAEU, and as laboratory technologist in SKMC surveillance lab.
Therese Marie Aguipo is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Nursing in University of San Jose-Recoletos Cebu City, Philippines. She joined Al Jalila Children's Genomics Centre as a Medical Secretary in August 2021. Therese is responsible for handling all administrative work at the Genomics Center including correspondence – either written or verbal – with other clinical departments within AJCH or outside entities, maintaining adequate supplies, raising purchase requisitions as per department needs, and following up on purchase orders internally with procurement and finance teams and externally with providing vendors. She also acts as a liaison between the head of the department and staff and ensures effective communications between all team members or between the Center and other departments. Additionally, she ensures the accuracy and completeness of documents pertaining to the department, and also maintains scheduling within the Center and updating the system with the approved shifts/rota for the department staff. Therese worked as a Clinic Nurse in Philippines from 2011-2013. She moved to UAE and started working as Customer Service Executive at Aramex Emirates LLC from 2013-2017. Then she joined as Executive Secretary/Admin at Saimeco Commercial Brokers LLC from 2017-2021 July.