Alumni Feature: Rawan Olayan

In December 2017, Rawan Olayan defended her Ph.D. dissertation and graduated with a degree in computer science. Under the supervision of her advisor Professor Vladimir Bajic, she completed her thesis on developing novel computational methods to predict drug-target interactions and their functional effects using data integration, graph mining and machine learning approaches. 

Currently, Rawan is working as a postdoctoral associate in the Carter Lab at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut. 

In her new role, she has been working to develop effective therapies to improve healthcare. Specifically, she is using multi-omics data to identify complex genetic networks and gene interactions relevant to Alzheimer's disease.

She thinks that her time at KAUST has given her the experience and knowledge to excel in her new job. 

She noted, "I believe I could make a positive contribution to the lab research by applying the experience obtained in similar projects where I used fairly similar science for my thesis."

Though Rawan misses the wonderful people and beautiful campus of KAUST, as well as the delicious food at Ya Hala, she focuses on her current challenges and looks forward to opportunities in the future.

"I am looking to improve my scientific skill set, publication record, and list of collaborators needed to the next career," she said.

When asked to share advice to those who want to follow in her footsteps, she said, "Trust and believe in yourself, get motivate(d), plan ahead and create (a) relaxed and peaceful workday to get your work done, and learn from failure because it is good for success."