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Khaled Barakat, PhD, MSc, EIT

Assistant Professor

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

About Me

Dr. Barakat received his PhD in biophysics from the University of Alberta in 2012 followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Professor Michael Houghton’s Lab for two years. During his career, Dr. Barakat received numerous awards including the CIHR and AIHS postdoctoral fellowships, the prestigious UofA dissertation award, the ACRI Studentship and many distinction awards throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies. Dr. Barakat is also the editor of a number of journals. Dr. Barakat's lab is supported by different funding agencies including the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology and IC-IMPACTS Centres of Excellence. Dr. Barakat is also the CEO & co-founder of HEKA Therapeutics Inc. and co-founder of ACHLYS; two spinoff companies devoted to drug discovery of immune checkpoints small molecule inhibitors and predicting off-target toxicity of new compounds in drug discovery.  

For more information, please check recent media coverage about Barakat's lab:

Edmonton Journal    Edmonton Sun      CTV National     CTV Edmonton          

Global Edmonton     TechieNews           Pharmpro          Science News

UofA                         Dinner Television   Leap Magazine


The major research focus in my lab is to apply state-of-the-art computational drug discovery tools to discover new antiviral and immune checkpoints’ small molecule drugs. Our lab specializes in understanding the nature and biophysical processes underlying protein-drug interaction, protein-protein interactions, protein-DNA interactions, drug off-target interactions and predicting drug-mediated toxicity. My laboratory has been growing and evolving into a multidisciplinary team, which comprises members with expertise in computer software design, pharmaceutics, chemistry, biophysics and computer science. We also have our own contemporary computer cluster as well as allocated resources from compute Canada and the IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer. In addition to the computational framework in our group, we also carry out different wet-lab experimental techniques to validate our modelling hypothesis and optimize our calculations. Our experiments are devoted to the characterization of protein-small molecules and  protein-protein interactions.

My lab has managed to:

• Build innovative computer models for the immune checkpoints proteins.

• Design small molecule inhibitors for the PD-1 and CTLA-4 pathways.

• Build comprehensive models for protein ion channels and membrane proteins.

• Develope new technologies to predict protein-protein and protein-drug interactions.

• Build robust mathematical models for different immune checkpoints pathways.

• Develope novel inhibitors for the RNA polymerase NS5B of HCV.

• Develope three novel classes of inhibitors for the HCV viral protein NS5A.

• Discover the first inhibitor of the ERCC1-XPA protein-protein interaction.

• Discover inhibitors for the ERCC1-XPF protein-protein interaction.

• Discover dual inhibitors for the p53-MDM2/MDM4 protein-protein interactions.

• Identify the binding site of Laulimalide within tubulin protein.

Lab Members:

Research Associates:

  • Dr. Tae Chul Moon, Research Associate (July 2015 - Present).

Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Dr. Marawan Ahmed, Postdoctoral Fellow (June 2014 - Present)
  • Dr. Aravindhan Ganesan, Postdoctoral Fellow (August 2015- Present).
  • Dr. Subha Kalyaanamoorthy, Postdoctoral Fellow (June 2016- Present) - (Awardee of the prestigious NSERC postdoctoral fellowship).
  • Dr. Abdo Ahmed, Postdoctoral Fellow (February 2018 - Present).

Graduate Students:

      • Francesco Gentile, PhD student (January 2014 - Present) - Awardee of the prestigious Alberta Innovates Studentship.

      • Yasser Tebana, PhD Student (January 2018 - Present).

      • Tianhua Feng, Master Student (March 2016 - Present)

      • Rui Chen, Master Student (September 2017 - Present).

      • Horia Jalily, Master Student (Completed).

      • Clement Viricel, Master student (Completed).

Internship & Summer Students:

     • Anna Jutla, Summer Student (April 2018 – September 2018).

     • Nawreen Hena, Internship Student (January 2017 – present).

     • Theinmozhi Arulraj, Internship Student (May 2017 – August 2017) (Completed).

     • JGyan Darshan, Internship Student (May 2017 – August 2017) (Completed).

     • Min-haung chiang, Internship Student (January 2017 – May 2017) (Completed).

     • Abhishek Pal, Internship Student (May 2016 – August 2016) (Completed).

     • Crystal Lui, Summer Student (January 2016 – January 2017) (Completed).

     • Michael.Heinzinger, Internship Student (January 2016 – March 2016) (Completed)..

     • Amanda Ngo, Summer Student (May 2015 – September 2015) (Completed)..

     • Jeffery Chow, Summer Student (May 2015 – September 2015) (Completed)..

     • Summer Kassem. Summer student (Completed).


  • PHARM 301- Medicinal Chemistry  
           Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry: Principles of Drug Action and Disposition. My Lectures are focused on drug binding interactions and structure-activity relationships.  

  • PHARM 437 - Bone and Joint 

           A Lecture on Drugs For Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout & Hyperuricemia.

  • PHARM 367 - Cardiology

          A Lecture on Medicinal Chemistry Of Antiarrythmic Drugs.

  • PHARM 487 - Pulmonary

           A Lecture on Medicinal Chemistry of Adrenergic β2-agonists

  • PHARM580 Computer Aided Drug Design – Graduate Course

          This introductory graduate-level course was designed to provide students with the background and a hands-on understanding of basic techniques involved in computer-aided drug design. The course introduced students to different tools including chemoinformatics, bioinformatics, molecular modeling, homology modeling, molecular dynamics simulation, molecular docking, QSAR, pharmacophore modelling, in silico ADME prediction and case studies highlighting recent successes. Lectures on course concepts were closely combined with hands-on tutorials that allowed the practical application of computational methods and statistical data analysis in a project-based format. Students recognized the strengths and challenges in computer-aided drug design approaches and learned how in silico methods can be complemented with experimental studies in concrete ligand discovery and design projects. Students were granted access to high performance computing resources to run their simulations and analyze the resulting data.

  • PHARM 697/698 - Graduate Course  

          This course is focused on seminar training and short seminar presentations on topics related to the student’s field of research. Normally, the seminar will be presented during the student’s second or third term. Required for all MSc and PhD students.