University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Kotb named founding chair for Basic Sciences

Malak Kotb, a noted infectious disease and biodefense expert, has been named the founding chair of the Department of Basic Sciences at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Kotb has been a tenured professor since 2008 at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology/Immunology. She was the former chair of the department. She also is a senior career research scientist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cincinnati. Kotb will begin work as chair at UND on July 1.

At the University of Cincinnati, Kotb was a member of the Institute for Military Medicine Research in the Department of Surgery. Kotb had established the MidSouth Center for Emerging Infectious diseases in Memphis, Tenn., where she was dedicated to bolstering preparedness for natural pandemics or deliberate man-made biological attacks. In Cincinnati, she directed the Midwest Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Dr. Kotb is precisely the type of individual we have been seeking—an acclaimed scientist who embodies collaborative and interdisciplinary research, a dedicated educator, and an accomplished administrator,” said Joshua Wynne, vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Kotb earned her doctorate in immunology and biochemistry from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. At UTHSC, she established and directed the immunogenetics, translational and biodefense research programs. She also founded and directed the Surgical Immunology Program and served as medical director for the Transplant Program Surgical Immunology Laboratory. Kotb completed postgraduate work at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Duke University.

Her research expertise uses interdisciplinary approaches to study the genetics and biology of disease-modifying genes and pathways. She seeks to translate her discoveries into effective diagnostic tools and personalized treatments for patients. Kotb holds two U.S. patents on her work in developing a medical screening method for cancer and a targeted treatment of cancer. She has chaired several national and international committees and served as a consultant and advisor for many national and international research organizations, as well as global pharmaceutical companies.

A 1997 Fulbright Scholar, Kotb edited two books and is the author of more than 170 scientific articles. She participates in a number of prestigious research societies, has been invited to speak at research conferences throughout the world, and has worked on and chaired numerous grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health study sections, the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as for other national and international advisory boards and granting agencies.

Kotb grew up in Heliopolis, Egypt, daughter of the late Karima Kotb, a social activist and leader of several charities and women’s organizations, and the late Salah Kotb, former president of Ain Shams University, a scientist and graduate of Teachers College at Colombia University in New York, who pioneered the field of science education for teachers and was an international consultant and advisor to several premier universities, including the Harvard College of Education. He was also an advisor to the late former President of Egypt Anwar el-Sadat. Kotb obtained her education at Cairo’s American College for Girls and got her B.S. from Ain Shams University in Cairo. In 1972, she was selected by the International Rotary as Goodwill Ambassador to the United States and was given a full scholarship to cover her education and living expenses.

-- Denis MacLeod, assistant director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 777.2733,

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