Intikhab Alam

​Brief Biography

Dr Alam completed his PhD in Bioinformatics from University of Bielefeld, Germany in 2005. He joined University of Manchester in 2005 as a Research Associate while working on comparative genomics of fungal species. Dr Alam joined Almac Diagnostics in 2008 as a senior bioinformatician where he worked on developing annotation pipeline for cancer transcriptome related to in-house micro-array cancer transcriptome chips.

He joined KAUST as a postdoctoral fellow in 2009 and became Research Scientist in 2010 and a senior Bioinformatician in 2015. While at  KAUST, he developed high throughput Automatic Annotation of Microbial/Meta Genomes pipeline using High Performance Computing (HPC) resources such asCBRC Dragon cluster, Shaheen. Dr Alam also developed Specialized data-warehouses for analysis and comparison of microbial genomes and metagenomes.


Mining the Ocean Blue Gold: An interactive gene catalog of Global Ocean Metagenome (GOM)


Global Ocean can be called blue gold of our times due to its largely untapped natural resources, especially access to marine genetic material through direct DNA sequencing or metagenomics study of these resources is in great demand. Variety of environmental conditions in different parts of the global ocean to which microbiota naturally adapts makes it a natural resource of proteins/peptides of interest (POI) with potential applications to several biotechnological industries. With the availability of data from recently published and some ongoing marine metagenomic studies we are able to extend existing ocean microbial reference catalog of 40 million genes to 58 million, it is now called KAUST Global Ocean Metagenome (GOM). The GOM database, with more than 60% of genes annotated with functional roles, and 80% with taxonomic assignments, can be used as a reference to facilitate quantitative characterization of ocean meta-omics studies and also for bioprospecting POI. To make bioprospecting of POI more useful we provide additional gene catalogs such as from Hot Springs with average temperature above 95°C and from extremely cold Antarctic Aquatic environment. Furthermore, we classified POI in 27 categories with potential applications in industries such as Agriculture, Biotechnology, Bioprocess Engineering, Energy, Environment, Food-and-Nutraceuticals, Medicine-and-Pharma, Cosmetics, and others. The online GOM database offers capabilities such as interactive exploration and comparison of focused subsets of data, e.g. POI based on functional hierarchies, assigned taxonomic affiliations, or other several useful ‘filters’ making the otherwise complex metagenomic analyses significantly simpler task.