Dr. Omar El Agnaf | Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


Dr. Omar El Agnaf

Dr. Omar El Agnaf

Executive Director
Qatar Biomedical Research Institute QBRI

Joint Professor
College of Health and Life Sciences


Dr. El-Agnaf was awarded a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1997 at the Queen’s University Belfast, UK. From 1997 to 1999, he worked as a post-doctoral scientist at the School of Biology and Biochemistry, Queen’s University Belfast. Following this, Dr. El-Agnaf undertook an additional two-year post-doctoral position at St. George’s Medical School in London. In 2001, he was awarded a research fellowship from the Parkinson’s Disease Society-UK to establish his research group at Lancaster University. After completing his research fellowship in 2004, Dr. El-Agnaf was invited to join the College of Medicine at UAE University and was appointed to the Biochemistry Department. In September 2014, he joined HBKU at Qatar Foundation, and in 2016 he was appointed Acting Executive Director of the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute.

Since he moved to the region in 2004, Dr. El-Agnaf has assembled an excellent research team and has been successful in attracting an array of scientific funding (over $6.0 M) from prestigious international funding agencies. He is frequently invited as a speaker at international scientific and clinical meetings and is currently a member of the editorial boards of several international journals. Publications in high-ranking scientific journals validate Dr. El-Agnaf's track record of superior basic and translational research productivity. He has published nearly 120 refereed articles, with citations exceeding 9,000 (to date), and possesses an h-index of 52.


Research Interests

Dr. El-Agnaf is considered a pioneer in the field of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders and is the recipient of 6 patents, with an additional six under consideration. He possesses notable experience in licensing products stemming from his novel research.

Several inventions have emerged from his research, and his discoveries have greatly impacted the scientific research community, provided further insight into the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease, and offered new opportunities for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools for Parkinson’s disease. His research has also been translated into clinical studies to evaluate the potential use of α-synuclein in body fluids as diagnostic marker for Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.

  • Current research efforts in Dr. El-Agnaf’s laboratory cover the following topics:
  • Identifying Novel Biomarkers for Type 2 Diabetes- associated Complications and Comorbidities
  • Identifying Potential Molecular Biomarkers for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Application of conformation-specific antibodies toward biomarker development for Parkinson’s disease
  • Development of Novel Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tools for Parkinson's Diseases and Related Disorders
  • Engineering antibodies for diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in neurodegenerative disease
  • Assessing alpha synuclein neurotoxicity by seeding polymerization and its correlation to alpha synuclein S129 phosphorylation disease
  • Non-invasive Peptide Mediated Delivery of CRISPR/Cpf1 to the Central Nervous System for Efficient Non-Homologous Gene Correction in Neuronal Cells
  • Development of Nanobodies against antigens for neurodegenerative diseases
  • Aptamers for diagnosis in Parkinson disease


As part of Dr. El-Agnaf’s academic tenure (Mentoring)

he has supervised numerous graduate and PhD students.

2001 to 2018
  • Teaching, HBKU, Postgraduate Course (Professor)

    Advanced Biochemistry

  • Teaching, HBKU, Postgraduate Course (Professor)

    Molecular and Cellular Biology of Neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Teaching, HBKU, Postgraduate Course (Professor)

    Advanced Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Selected Publications

  • Lewy body-like alpha-synuclein inclusions trigger reactive microgliosis prior to nigral degeneration.

    Duffy MF, Collier TJ, Patterson JR, Kemp CJ, Luk KC, Tansey MG, Paumier KL, Kanaan NM, Fischer DL, Polinski NK, Barth OL, Howe JW, Vaikath NN, Majbour NK, El-Agnaf OMA, Sortwell CE. 

    J Neuroinflammation. 2018 May 1;15(1):129. doi: 10.1186/s12974-018-1171-z. Erratum in:J Neuroinflammation. 2018 May 29;15(1):169.

  • Phosphorylated exogenous alpha-synuclein fibrils exacerbate pathology and induce neuronal dysfunction in mice.

    Karampetsou M, Ardah MT, Semitekolou M, Polissidis A, Samiotaki M, Kalomoiri M, Majbour N, Xanthou G, El-Agnaf OMA, Vekrellis K. Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 28;7(1):16533. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15813-8.

  • Validation of electrochemiluminescence assays for highly sensitive and reproducible quantification of α-synuclein in cerebrospinal fluid.

    Kruse N, El-Agnaf OM, Mollenhauer B. Bioanalysis. 2017 Apr;9(8):621-630. doi: 10.4155/bio-2017-0005. Epub 2017 May 15.

  • Increased levels of CSF total but not oligomeric or phosphorylated forms of alpha-synuclein in patients diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's disease.

    Majbour NK, Chiasserini D, Vaikath NN, Eusebi P, Tokuda T, van de Berg W, Parnetti L, Calabresi P, El-Agnaf OM. Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 10;7:40263. doi: 10.1038/srep40263.

  • A novel multiplex assay for simultaneous quantification of total and S129 phosphorylated human alpha-synuclein.

    Landeck N, Hall H, Ardah MT, Majbour NK, El-Agnaf OM, Halliday G, Kirik D.

    Mol Neurodegener. 2016 Aug 22;11(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s13024-016-0125-0.

  • Longitudinal changes in CSF alpha-synuclein species reflect Parkinson's disease progression.

    Majbour NK, Vaikath NN, Eusebi P, Chiasserini D, Ardah M, Varghese S, Haque ME, Tokuda T, Auinger P, Calabresi P, Parnetti L, El-Agnaf OM.

    Mov Disord. 2016 Oct;31(10):1535-1542. doi: 10.1002/mds.26754.

  • List of Publications on Google Scholar


  • Alpha-synuclein Antibodies and Uses Thereof, USPTO/ Application No. US13/781,158./ filed 03rd March 2013. O.M.A. El-Agnaf.

  • Method for diagnosis, PCT Application No. PCT/2012/004566/ filed 06th July 2011. O.M.A. El-Agnaf, Lucilla Parnetti and Paolo Calabresi.

  • Early Diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease, PCT Application No. PCT/GB10/001723/ filed 16th September 2010. O.M.A. El-Agnaf.

  • Methods and kits for diagnosing neurodegenerative disease. PCT Application No WO 2009/152607/ filed 23rd Dec, 2009. Michael Schlossmacher, Brit Mollenhauer and Omar El-Agnaf.

  • Imaging Agent for detection and/or monitoring of synuclein-related diseases, PCT Application No. PCT/GB08/0022932/ filed 29th August 2008. O.M.A. El-Agnaf.

  • Detection and/or monitoring of synuclein-related diseases, PCT Application No. PCT/GB2003/000677, filed 14th February 2002. O.M.A. El-Agnaf, S.A. Salem and D. Allsop.

  • Peptides and peptide derivatives for the treatment of α-synuclein-related diseases, PCT Application No. PCT/GB2003/003240, filed 22nd July 2002. O.M.A. El-Agnaf and D. Allsop.