Yaqoub Ashhab is an associate professor of molecular biology and bioinformatics at Palestine Polytechnic University and a visiting professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He received his PhD in molecular biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1998. From 1999-2005 he worked as a postdoctoral fellow and a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2013-2014 he spent a sabbatical leave at the Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Research Center in Italy. In 2007, he joined Palestine Polytechnic University to lead the establishment of a biotechnology research unit that was funded by the European Union and the World Bank. He also led a national project to establish the Palestine-Korea Biotechnology Center, which was a kind donation from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
During his postdoc, Dr. Ashhab discovered the BIRC7 gene, which has become an important biomarker in various types of cancers. His current research interests are using genomic data to develop diagnostic assay and to design genome-based vaccines. He is currently an active partner in several European research groups and academic collaboration networks. He has authored and co-authored over 40 publications in international peer-reviewed journals and conferences.
Dr. Ashhab is a co-founder and board member of the Palestinian Forum for Medical Research (PFMR), which focuses on capacity building of young biomedical researchers. Furthermore, he has a long-standing interest to address challenges and opportunities of developing countries to harness the potential of the genomic big-data revolution. Towards this goal, he has been working on developing various bioinformatics training courses as well as an educational channel in Arabic on YouTube.