CBRC Seminar on Coronavirus

Mar 15 2020


Talk title: COVID-19: Scientific and Clinical Perspective 

Dr. Asim Alsaedi presented the latest findings on SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the current epidemic of COVID-19 viral disease. in his talk he discussed the nature of coronaviruses, the COVID-19 disease, and impact on public health:

  • The Virus (SARS-CoV-2): Origin and Biology
  • The Disease (COVID-19): what do we know?
  • Infection control and public health aspects: should we be worried?

Dr. Asim Alsaedi presently serves as Adult Infectious Diseases Consultant in the Department of Medicine at King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard, Jeddah. Dr. Alsaedi is also an Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah.

Dr. Alsaedi obtained his MBBS from King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, in 2004 and completed his Saudi Board in Internal Medicine in 2009. He acquired both his fellowship degrees in Infectious Diseases and in Infection Control from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 2014.


Talk title: Functional pangenome analysis of novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus 

The recent epidemic of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and its associated disease COVID-2019 has triggered a global health emergency that demands urgent analysis of its genome in order to provide solutions for its detection and therapy. Dr.Alam presented a comparative pangenomic analysis using genomes from SARS-CoV-2 and all other coronaviruses related to the taxonomic genus Betacoronavirus, in order to detect the core and accessory gene clusters, thus defining pangenome of this genus. They annotated functions of these genes, which are confirmed by structural analysis. The team found five accessory gene clusters common to the SARS clade, including SARS-CoV-2, that perform functions supporting their pathogenicity. They also developed a pangenome repository for exploration of genus Betacoronavirus, available at http://pangenomedb.kaust.edu.sa.


Dr. Intikhab Alam is a senior bioinformatician at KAUST's Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC). He completed his master's degree in molecular biology in 2000 and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. Prior to joining KAUST, Dr. Alam worked at the University of Manchester, and Almac Diagnostics, a pharmaceutical service provider company. His research interests are in genomic characterization, metagenomics, and development of platforms for large-scale dataset analyses.