Welcome, Dr. Mohammed AlQuraishi

Mohammed AlQuraishi, PhD

The Department of Systems Biology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center is pleased to welcome new faculty member, Mohammed AlQuraishi , PhD, effective Sept. 21. Dr. AlQuraishi joins Columbia as an assistant professor and as a member of Columbia’s Program for Mathematical Genomics. 

Prior to joining Columbia, Dr. AlQuraishi served as a fellow of systems pharmacology and systems biology at Harvard Medical School. He completed his PhD in genetics and master’s in statistics from Stanford University. At Santa Clara University, he earned two bachelor’s degrees in biology and in computer engineering. 

A Bay Area transplant via Baghdad and Kuala Lumpur, Dr. AlQuraishi spent most of his teenage years in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to the east coast for postdoctoral work. Influenced by the dot-com boom of the early 2000s in the Bay Area, Dr. AlQuraishi founded two startups in the mobile computing space before focusing on a career in academia. His circuitous path to systems biology and academic research ultimately blended his genuine interest and expertise in computer programming, mathematics, molecular biology, and science more broadly.

“What drew me to biology is its similarity to software, the fact that cells are always executing a sort of program," he says. "And just like programs, cells are more than a parts list—they are complex and interconnected in myriad ways. To tame this complexity we need synthesis, and that is the promise and challenge of systems biology.”

Dr. AlQuraishi's lab will focus on two biological perspectives: the molecular and systems levels. On the molecular side, the AlQuraishi lab will develop machine learning models for predicting protein structure and function, protein-ligand interactions, and learned representations of proteins and proteomes. On the systems side, his group will apply these models in a proteome-wide fashion to investigate the organization, combinatorial logic, and computational paradigms of signal transduction networks, and investigate how these networks vary in human populations, and how they are dysregulated in human diseases, particularly cancer.

Dr. AlQuraishi's expertise in the foundations of biology; the principles, patterns, and mechanisms that underlie living organisms, as well as innovative computational methods, position him uniquely as a PI in the Program for Mathematical Genomics. His expertise is essential for understanding the functional role of mutations across many diseases, including cancer and heritable and infectious diseases.