Focus on Mentoring

Rakez Kayed, PhDRakez Kayed, PhD
April 2021

Dr. Rakez Kayed completed his PhD degree in organic and medicinal chemistry from the University of Tübingen, Germany, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Alzheimer’s and protein misfolding diseases from the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Kayed joined UTMB in 2007 as an assistant professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience and Cell Biology. Dr. Kayed is currently a tenured professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Anatomy. He is also a member of the George & Cynthia Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a member of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, and a Senior Fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging.

Dr. Kayed’s research focuses on the mechanisms of protein misfolding and aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Kayed’s contributions have significantly advanced the understanding of the mechanisms of neurodegenerative pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders. His laboratory has made important discoveries for the role of oligomers in synaptic dysfunction, cell death and disease progression and has developed novel amyloid-ß, α-synuclein and tau oligomer-specific antibodies. His research is funded by multiple grants from funding agencies such as the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Texas Alzheimer’s Research & Care Consortium, among others. His research has been published in over 140 peer-reviewed articles and has been cited more than 28,000 times. He has served as a reviewer for NIH study sections and more than 20 national and international funding agencies and foundations. He has also participated as a reviewer for more than 50 scientific journals including Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Molecular Psychiatry.

In addition to his outstanding research accomplishments, Dr. Kayed goes above and beyond in the teaching and mentoring of trainees. He is dedicated to providing career guidance for students and encouraging them to gain professional skills that are vital to their long-term success. He has mentored 20 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, as well as 60 medical students, rotation students, exchange students, and high school and undergraduate students. His trainees have published peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals and have received many local, national, and international competitive fellowships, scholarships, and awards. Dr. Kayed is actively involved in academic administration and, since 2014, he has served as the director for the Neurobiology of Disease PhD track and a member of the Graduate School Executive Committee. He also serves as the chair of the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) curriculum committee, which is responsible for revising and improving courses. Additionally, he directs and facilitates multiple courses for graduate and medical students.

Dr. Kayed has been recognized with multiple honors including the John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Parkinson Disease Research, the GSBS Distinguished Faculty Research Award, and the Best Mentor Award from the University of Palermo, Italy. In recognition of his service, please join the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in celebrating Dr. Kayed as the April 2021 GSBS Focus on Mentoring designee.

Mentors: Past Highlights