Faculty of Health Sciences
Achraf Al Faraj, Ph.D.
Chairperson - Dept of Radiologic Science
Office: Block A, Room 401
Campus: Ashrafieh
Extension: 298

Dr. Achraf Al Faraj received his BS degree in Biology from the University of Balamand in 2004. Then, he pursued his graduate studies at the University of Lyon 1, France where he got a MS in Biomedical Engineering specialized in Biomedical Imaging in 2006. He was then awarded a scholarship from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research and obtained his PhD in Biomedical Engineering / Imaging in 2009. During his PhD training, he also obtained a 2nd MS degree in Microstructure Imaging in 2008. His PhD research has focused on assessing the biodistribution and biological impacts of nanoparticles using multimodality imaging techniques and evaluating the physicochemical properties of these nanomaterials to improve their biocompatibility for prospective biomedical applications.

Dr. Al Faraj moved then to Paris where he did his postdoctoral research in the field of Molecular and Cellular Imaging at the University of Paris 7 / CNRS and the European Hospital Georges Pompidou, Paris Cardiovascular Research Centre. His postdoctoral research has focused on labeling cells of biological interest (i.e. Endothelial cell-derived microvesicles or Bone marrow derived macrophages) using iron oxide nanoparticles and monitoring their biodistribution after in vivo administration using noninvasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Dr. Al Faraj moved then to King Saud University (KSU) where he was appointed in 2010 as Assistant Professor in the department of Radiological Sciences at the College of Applied Medical Sciences and promoted to Associate Professor in 2015. Shortly after joining KSU, he was able to build up and leading a Nanomedicine, Molecular and Imaging lab equipped with state-of-the-art equipment from awarded funds of several competitive international projects.

Dr. Al Faraj joined AUST in September 2016 and was appointed as Associate Professor and Chairman of Radiologic Science department.

His current multidisciplinary research projects mainly focus on the development and applications of novel multimodalities imaging techniques coupled with the use of innovative nanoparticles as drug delivery systems or nanomedicines for early and better diagnosis and therapy of either cancerous diseases (i.e. breast cancer) or chronic pulmonary diseases (i.e. Asthma and COPD).

Through collaborative research projects with pioneer researchers from several international institutes, Dr. Al Faraj is also currently interested in multidisciplinary biomedical research focusing on evaluating the toxicity of nanomaterials, optimizing the biocompatibility of engineered scaffold for tissue engineering, and developing novel therapeutic strategies to tackle various diseases via targeted delivery of specific mRNA-loaded nanocarriers.

During the last few years, Dr. Al Faraj has published more than 35 peer-reviewed articles in top journals in the field and presented his work in several international conferences (more than 40 conference proceedings).

He is serving as reviewer in several peer-reviewed international journals.

He is/was also member of several international societies including:

World Molecular Imaging Society (WMIS)

European Molecular Imaging Society (EMIS)

International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)

European Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology (ESMRMB)

European Congress of Radiology (ECR)

Selected Publications

  • Malkawi A.K, Alzoubi K. H, Jacob M, Matic G, Ali A, Al Faraj A, Almuhanna F, Dasouki M, Abdel Rahman A. M. Metabolomics Based Profiling of Dexamethasone Side Effects in Rats. Frontiers in Pharmacology 2018, Volume 9, Pages 46. IF: 4.400.

  • Pasha Shaik A, Sultana Shaik A, Al Majwal A, Al Faraj A. Blocking IL4-Alpha Receptor Using Polyethylene Glycol Functionalized Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanocarriers to Inhibit Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation. Cancer Research and Treatment 2017 Apr; 49(2):322-329. IF: 4.245.

  • Al Faraj A, Sultana Shaik A, Ratemi E, Halwani R. Combination of drug-conjugated SWCNT nanocarriers for efficient therapy of cancer stem cells in a breast cancer animal model. Journal of Controlled Release 2016, Volume 225, 10 March 2016, Pages 240-251. IF: 7.703.

  • A Al Faraj. SWCNTs as novel theranostic nanocarriers for cancer diagnosis and therapy: towards safe translation to the clinics. Nanomedicine 2016 Jun;11(11):1431-45. IF: 5.431.

  • Halwani R, Sultana Shaik A, Ratemi E, Afzal S, Al Muhsen S, Al Faraj A. A Novel Anti-IL4Rα Nanoparticle Efficiently Controls Lung Inflammation during Asthma. Experimental and Molecular Medicine 2016; 48, e262. IF: 5.164.

  • Ratemi E, Sultana Shaik A, Al Faraj A, Halwani R. Alternative Approaches for the Treatment of Airway Diseases: Focus on Nanoparticle Medicine. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 2016. Volume 46, Issue 8, August 2016, Pages 1033-1042. IF: 5.587.

  • Al Faraj A, Sultana Shaik A, Al Sayed B, Halwani R, Al Jammaz I. Specific Targeting and Noninvasive Imaging of Breast Cancer Stem Cells using Single-walled Carbon Nanotubes as Novel Multimodality Nanoprobes. Nanomedicine 2016: 11(1), 31–46. IF: 5.431.

  • Al Faraj A, Alotaibi B, Pasha Shaik A, Shamma K, Al Jammaz I, Gerl J. Sodium-22 radiolabeled silica nanoparticles as new radiotracer for biomedical applications: in vivo PET imaging, biodistribution and biocompatibility. International Journal of Nanomedicine 2015:10 Pages 6293-6302. IF: 4.383.

  • Al Faraj A, Sultana Shaik A, Afzal S, Al-Muhsen S, Halwani R. Specific Targeting and Noninvasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging of an Asthma Biomarker in the Lung using Polyethylene Glycol functionalized Magnetic Nanocarriers. Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging 2016 May;11(3):172-83. IF: 3.333.

  • Al Faraj A, Sultana Shaik A, Halwani R, Alfuraih A. Magnetic targeting and delivery of drug-loaded SWCNTs theranostic nanoprobes to lung metastasis in breast cancer animal model: noninvasive monitoring using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Molecular Imaging and Biology 2016 Jun;18(3):315-24. IF: 2.774.

  • Al Faraj A, Sultana Shaik A, Pasha Shaik A. Magnetic SWCNT as efficient drug delivery nanocarriers in breast cancer murine model: noninvasive monitoring using diffusion-weighted MRI as sensitive imaging biomarker. International Journal of Nanomedicine 2015:10 157–168. IF: 4.383.

  • Al Faraj A, Sultana Shaik A, Al Sayed B. Preferential magnetic targeting of carbon nanotubes to cancer sites: noninvasive tracking using MRI in a murine breast cancer model. Nanomedicine 2015. 10(6). IF: 5.824.

  • Al Faraj A, Pasha Shaik A, Sultana Shaik A. Effect of surface coating on the biocompatibility and in vivo MRI detection of iron oxide nanoparticles after intrapulmonary administration. Nanotoxicology 2015; 9(7): 825–834. IF: 7.336.

  • Saad A and Al Faraj A. 3D Visualization of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles in MRI of inflammatory model. Journal of Visualization 2015. Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 563-570.

  • Al Faraj A, Sultana Shaik, M. Alnafea A. Enhanced resolution of LPS-induced lung inflammation following M2 macrophages intrapulmonary administration: noninvasive monitoring using noninvasive free-breathing MR and CT imaging protocols. BMC Medical Imaging 2015, 15: 16.

  • Chinnappana R, Al Faraj A, Abdulrahman A, Zourob M. Anti-VCAM-1 and anti-IL4Rα aptamer conjugated super paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for enhanced breast cancer diagnosis and therapy. Under review.

  • Sultana Shaik A, Pasha Shaik A, Al Faraj A. Effect of Polyethylene Glycol Surface Charge Functionalization of SWCNT on the in vitro and in vivo Nanotoxicity and Biodistribution Monitored Noninvasively using MRI. Under review.


Sultana Shaik, G. Das, A. Al Faraj. Nanomedicine – A targeted combat against cancer stem cells. Current research and future perspectives.  LAP Lambert Academic Publishing 2015. ISBN: 978-3-659-66721-3

Academic Degrees


  • PhD in Biomedical Engineering: Biomedical Imaging, University of Lyon 1, France 2009.
  • MSc in Biomedical Engineering: Biomedical Imaging, University of Lyon 1, France 2006.
  • MSc in Genetics and Cell Biology: Microstructure Imaging, University of Lyon 1, France 2008.
  • Maitrise in Life Sciences: Structural and Nanobiology, University of Grenoble 1, France 2005.
  • BS in Biology, University of Balamand, Lebanon 2004.
  • University Diploma in Animal Experimentation, Universities of Lyon, France 2008.

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