Our methods give us a 3D atomic view of proteins and other biomolecules; seeing how these beautiful and elaborate structures create life is an inspiring but also humbling experience—which may save us lives.

Stefan Arold is a Professor of Bioscience at KAUST. He is affiliated with the  Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE) and the Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC). 

Education and early career

Prof. Arold has held faculty positions at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston, USA and Centre de Biochimie Structurale (CBS) in Montpellier, France. He received his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biophysics from University of Montpellier I and graduated cum laude.

Areas of expertise and current scientific interests

Prof. Arold's research is dedicated to elucidating the molecular basis of the function and (de)regulation of proteins central to cellular key signaling networks in bacteria, plants, and animals. His investigations are based on an integrated structural biology approach that combines functional and structural data from multiple sources (small angle x-ray scattering, X-ray crystallography, NMR, EM, computational methods, biochemistry, ligand binding assays and functional analyses). Results are translated to engineer molecules with desired properties  (e.g. reporters or inhibitors). Structural biology approaches are also used to enhance computational methods for functional annotation of genes (system-wide or focused).

Career recognitions

Prof. Arold is one of the most recognized scientists in the field of structural biology in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. His career highlights include being appointed Chair of the Bioscience Program at KAUST in 2017 and joining a Fellowship Program for Research in Japan hosted by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science in 2006.

Editorial activities

Prof. Arold is an Editorial Advisor for the Biochemical Journal and External Editor for PNAS. He is an ad hoc journal reviewer for the following journals:  Nature Chemical Biology, FEBS Lettres, Nature Scientific Reports, PNAS, Nucleic Acids Research, Structure, BMC Systems Biology, Acta Crystallographica Section D, Acta Crystallographica Section F, British Journal of Pharmacology, Current HIV Research, Biochemical Journal, PLoS Pathogens, Proteins, PLoS ONE, Analytical Biochemistry, Molecular Microbiology, Cellular and Molecular Life Science, Biophysical Journal, Biochemistry, Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of Receptors and Signal Transduction, Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modeling, J. of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The Plant Cell.

Why Structural Biology?

Structural biology allows me to visualize the stunning ingenuity and beauty resulting from 4 billion years of evolution on earth – and to use it to improve our daily lives.


King Abdullah said that, “KAUST shall be a beacon for peace, hope and reconciliation, and shall serve the people of the Kingdom and the world.”  By so beautifully summarizing the positive global impact that we scientists can—and should—have, he got me on board!

Education Profile

  • Habilitation, University of Montpellier I, France, 2004
  • Ph.D. Degree 'European Label' (passed with distinction 'cum laude'), University of Montpellier I, France, 1998
  • D.E.A. (5th year of studies) in Molecular Biophysics and Molecular Biology (ranked major of group), University of  Montpellier I, France, 1995      
  • Master's Degree (4th year of studies) in Physics, Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France, 1994
  • Vordiplom (second year diploma) in Physics, passed with best distinction ("sehr gut"). Unviversity of Würzburg, Germany, 1992


Location: Building 2, Room 4275

Awards and Distinctions

Editorial Advisor:

  • Biochemical Journal 
  • External Editor for PNAS

Ad Hoc Journal Reviewer:

  • Nature Chemical Biology
  • FEBS Lettres
  • Nature Scientific Reports
  • PNAS
  • Nucleic Acids Research
  • Structure
  • BMC Systems Biology
  • Acta Crystallographica Section D
  • Acta Crystallographica Section F
  • British Journal of Pharmacology 
  • Current HIV Research
  • Biochemical Journal
  • PLoS Pathogens
  • Proteins
  • PLoS ONE
  • Analytical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Microbiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Life Science
  • Biophysical Journal
  • Biochemistry 
  • Journal of Molecular Biology
  • Journal of Receptors and Signal Transduction
  • Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modeling
  • J. of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • The Plant Cell

Selected Publications

Alsaif, H. S., Alshehri, A., Sulaiman, R. A., Al‐Hindi, H., Guzmán‐Vega, F. J., Arold, S. T., & Alkuraya, F. S. (2021). MYH1 is a candidate gene for recurrent rhabdomyolysis in humans. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62188
Zhao, X., Remington, J. M., Schneebeli, S. T., Arold, S. T., & Li, J. (2021). Molecular Basis for Environment Sensing by a Nucleoid-Structuring Bacterial Protein Filament. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 12(32), 7878–7884. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c01710
Perlman, E. J., Gadd, S., Arold, S. T., Radhakrishnan, A., Gerhard, D. S., Jennings, L., … Smith, M. A. (2015). MLLT1 YEATS domain mutations in clinically distinctive Favourable Histology Wilms tumours. Nature Communications, 6(1). doi:10.1038/ncomms10013