Dr. Shahryar Khattak | Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


Dr. Shahryar Khattak

Dr. Shahryar Khattak

Core Manager – Stem Cell and Genome Engineering
Qatar Biomedical Research Institute QBRI
Core Facility


Dr. Shahryar Khattak completed his Master's in Life Sciences (2001) from Gwangju Institute of science and technology, Gwangju, Republic of Korea. He received a PhD (2005) from the International Max Planck Research school of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany. He continued to work as a postdoc in the same institute to decipher the role of muscle dedifferentiation versus satellite cell activation during axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) limb regeneration. To achieve this, he established the virus mediated gene delivery, inducible Cre/LoxP system, transposase based transgenesis and tissue specific reporters in the axolotl.

In 2010, Dr. Khattak joined the Ontario Induced pluripotent Stem cell (IPSC) facility as senior postdoc at the Developmental and Stem Cell biology program of the Hospital for Sick children (Sickkids) in Toronto, Canada. His research involved derivation and characterization of IPSCs from Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) and Di-George syndrome patients and directed differentiation of the WBS IPSCs into forebrain cortical neurons for disease modeling.

As part of his experience in the biotech industry, he has worked as a Pluripotent Stem Cell FAS (Field Applications Scientist, responsible for USA and Canada) at Stem cell Technologies Vancouver and was a Developmental Scientist in Cell Reprogramming and Engineering platform at the Center for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) in Toronto, Canada.

From 2015-2018, Dr. Khattak served as the Head of ES/iPS Cell Facility at Center for Regenerative Therapies in Dresden, Germany. He established the facility to derive human and non-human primate IPSCs and characterize them for pluripotency as fee for service. He also established standard operating procedures for Genome engineering by making isogenic hPSC lines, Knock in/outs and human and mouse stem cell reporter lines via TALENS and CRISPR/Cas9 as fee for service.

Since April 2018, Dr. Khattak has been managing the stem cell core at QBRI. The faciltiy has expertise in reprogramming of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells and their pluripotency characterization. Furthermore, the core provides services for genome engineering and gene delivery as well as directed differentiations of pluripotent stem cells towards neuronal and pancreatic lineages.


Research Interests

  • Collaborator's Name: Dr. Mike O karl, Institute Name: German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Research Area: Retinal organogenesis for disease modeling
  • Collaborator's Name: Prof. Dr. Marius Ader, Institute Name: Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden-Germany, Research Area: Mouse ES cell cone photoreceptor reporter lines
  • Collaborator's Name: Prof Dr. Min Ae Lee-Kirsch, Institute Name: University Clinic Dresden-Germany, Research Area: iPSC derived models of rare neurodegenerative diseases
  • Collaborator's Name: Dr. Abeer R. Al-Shammari, Institute Name: Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Research Area: iPSC models of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Collaborator's Name: Prof. Dr Weiland Huttner. Dr. Michael Heide, Institute Name: Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden, Research Area: Pluripotent stem cell derived cerebral organoids for studying brain evolution
  • Collaborator's Name: Dr. Hiba Al-Siddiqi, Institute Name: Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Research Area: Beta cell Metabolism

Selected Publications

  • Zaslavsky K, Zhang WB, McCready FP, Rodrigues DC, Deneault E, Loo C, Zhao M, Ross PJ, El Hajjar J, Romm A, Thompson T, Piekna A, Wei W, Wang Z, Khattak S, Mufteev M, Pasceri P, Scherer SW, Salter MW, Ellis J.

    SHANK2 mutations associated with autism spectrum disorder cause hyperconnectivity of human neurons. Nature Neuroscience. 2019 Apr;22(4):556-564. doi: 10.1038/s41593-019-0365-8

  • Gerber T, Murawala P, Knapp D, Masselink W, Schuez M, Hermann S, Gac-Santel M, Nowoshilow S, Kagejama J, Khattak S, Currie J, Camp JR, Tanaka EM, Treutlein B.

    Single-cell transcriptomics uncovers molecular funneling of cell identities during axolotl limb regeneration. Science 2018 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0681

  • Khattak S, Brimble E, Zhang W, Zaslavsky K, Strong E, Ross PJ, Hendry J, Mital S, Salter MW, Osborne LR and Ellis J

    Human induced pluripotent stem cell derived neurons as a model for Williams-Beuren syndrome. Molecular Brain (2015) 8:77 DOI 10.1186/s13041-015-0168-0

  • Khattak S, Murawala P, Andreas H, Kappert V, Schuez M, Sandoval-Guzmán T, Crawford K, Tanaka EM.

    Optimized axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) husbandry, breeding, metamorphosis, transgenesis and tamoxifen-mediated recombination.Nature Protocols 2014 Mar; 9(3):529-40

  • Sandoval-Guzmán T*, Wang H*, Khattak S*, Schuez M, Roensch K, Nacu E, Tazaki A, Joven A, Tanaka EM, Simon A.

    Fundamental differences in dedifferentiation and stem cell recruitment during skeletal muscle regeneration in two salamander species. Cell Stem Cell 2014 Feb 6;14(2):174-87. *equal contribution

  • Khattak S, Schuez M, Richter T, Knapp D, Haigo SL, Sandoval-Guzmán T, Hradlikova K, Duemmler A, Kerney R, Tanaka EM

    Germline transgenic methods for tracking cells and testing gene function during regeneration in the axolotl. Stem Cell Reports 2013 June 04;1: 90-103. Highlighted in Nature Methods Aug 2013.

  • Kragl M, Knapp D, Nacu N, Khattak S, Maden M, Epperlein HH, Tanaka EM.

    Cells keep a memory of their tissue origin during limb regeneration. Nature.2009; 460:60-65.

  • For complete list of publications: