Souhaila Al Khodor, PhD

Principal Investigator – Associate Level
Director – Maternal and Child Health Program
Laboratory of Microbiome and Microbe Host Interactions

Email: salkhodor (@) sidra.org
Phone: +974 4003 7397

  • Biography

    Dr. Al Khodor received her bachelor’s degree in medical Laboratory technology from the Faculty of Public Health at the Lebanese University in 2001. Soon after, she started her Master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology at the American University of Beirut while working as a Senior Microbiologist in charge at Hammoud University Medical Center in Lebanon (2002-2005). Dr. Al Khodor received her second master’s degree and PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA (2005-2008). In 2009, Dr AL Khodor worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Signaling systems Unit, laboratory of Systems Biology, at the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, USA. In January 2015, Dr Al Khodor joined the research department at Sidra Medicine where she acts as a Principal Investigator and was appointed as the Director of the Maternal and Child Health research program in July 2019. Dr. Al Khodor acts as an adjunct Assistant Professor at the College of Health & Life Science in Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences in Qatar University.
  • Our Research and Approach

    Dr. Al Khodor’s laboratory focuses on characterizing the role of the microbiome in health and disease, with a particular emphasis on pregnant women and kids with chronic diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disorders and Nephrotic Syndrome. Dr. Al Khodor and her team aim to understand how the microbiome composition predisposes us to disease and affects our health and response to treatments.

    In our research, we collaborate with clinicians, we have successfully implemented protocols used to assess the microbiome composition in various body sites including saliva, stool, vaginal swabs, blood and urine using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We are also developing the metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and viromics pipelines.

    We aim to employ a systems biology approach by combining various omics tools (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, proteomics, microbiomics, etc) and non-omics tools in order to achieve an integrative view of heath and identify specific disease signatures.
  • Lab Members

    Manoj Kumar, PhD
    Staff Scientist
    Email: mkumar (@) sidra.org

    Selvasankar Murugesan, PhD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Email: smurugesan (@) sidra.org

    Parul Singh, MS
    Research Specialist
    Email: psingh (@) sidra.org

    Marwa Saadaoui, MS
    Research Specialist
    Email: msaadaoui (@) sidra.org

    Duaa Elhag, MS
    Research Coordinator
    Email: delhag (@) sidra.org

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS(equal contribution, *corresponding):

  • Mattei V, Murugesan S, Al Hashmi M, Mathew R, James N, Singh P, Kumar M, Lakshmanan AP, Terranegra A, Souhaila Al Khodor*, Tomei S*: Evaluation of Methods for the Extraction of Microbial DNA From Vaginal Swabs Used for Microbiome Studies. Front Cell Infect Microbiol (2019) 6;9:197.
  • Parul Singh, Manoj Kumar and Souhaila Al Khodor*. Vitamin D Deficiency in the Gulf Cooperation Council: Exploring the Triad of Genetic Predisposition, the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System. Front Immunol (2019) 10:1042.
  • Souhaila Al Khodor, Reichert B, Shatat IF. Front Pediatr (2017) 19;5:138.
  • Souhaila Al Khodor* and Ibrahim F. Shatat*. Gut microbiome and kidney disease: A bidirectional relationship. Pediatr Nephrol (2016) (6):921-931.
  • Souhaila Al Khodor, , , , , . Burkholderia cenocepacia J2315 escapes to the cytosol and actively subverts autophagy in human macrophages. Cell Microbiol (2014) 16(3):378-95.
  • Souhaila Al Khodor and Kwaik, Y. A. Triggering of Ras signaling by intracellular Francisella tularensis through recruitment of PKCalpha and beta1 to the SOS2/GrBr complex is essential for bacterial proliferation in the cytosol. Cell Microbiol (2010) 12: 16040-1621.
  • Souhaila Al Khodor, Al-Quadan, T., and Kwaik, Y. A. Temporal and differential regulation of the eukaryotic-like ankyrin effectors of L. pneumophila. Environ Microbiol Rep (2010)2: 677-684.
  • Akimana, C., Souhaila Al Khodor, and Kwaik, Y. A.Arthropod and mammalian host factors required for intracellular proliferation of Francisella tularensis. PloS ONE(2010) 5: e11025.
  • Price, C. T., Souhaila Al Khodor, Al-Quadan, T., Habyarimana, F., and Kwaik, Y. A. Molecular mimicry by an F-box effector of Legionella pneumophila hijacks a conserved polyubiquitination machinery within macrophages and protozoa. PLoS Pathog (2009) 5: e1000704.
  • Souhaila Al Khodor, Kalachikov, S., Morozova, I., Price, C. T., and Kwaik. Y. A. The PmrA/B two component system of Legionella pneumophila is a global regulator required for intracellular replication within macrophages and protozoa. Infect Immun (2009) 77: 374-386.