Muriel Tahtouh Zaatar

Chair of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences and Associate Professor of Biology

School of Arts & Sciences

Department of Biological and Physical Sciences


PhD in Immunology-Physiology & Biology of Organisms, Lille I University, France (with high honors)
Senior Executive Leadership Program, Harvard Business School
MS in Genetics, Saint Joseph University of Beirut
BS in Natural Sciences,
Saint Joseph University of Beirut

Dr. Muriel Zaatar joined the American University in Dubai (AUD) in 2022, assuming the role of Associate Professor of Biology and subsequently earning the appointment as Chair of the Biological and Physical Sciences Department.

Since her arrival at AUD, Dr. Zaatar has been at the forefront of significant advancements, inaugurating the Biology Lecture Series to foster connections among faculty, staff, and students with global leaders. She plays a pivotal role in preparing biology students, including those on the pre-medical track, for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), crucial for acceptance into American medical programs. Dr. Zaatar also actively collaborates on research projects that have resulted in international peer-reviewed publications. Notably, she has forged essential partnerships with esteemed institutions such as the Dubai Police, Dubai Health, American Hospital Dubai, Clemenceau Medical Center Hospital Dubai and Globalpharma facilitating valuable internships and real-world experiences that align with students' career goals.

In collaboration with the AUD Center for Research, Innovation, and Design (CRID), Dr. Zaatar introduced the first undergraduate fully immersive Biology VR lab course in the UAE and published a pioneering study exploring the impact of VR on undergraduate biology education. Beyond her teaching responsibilities, she offers guidance to the Biology Student Society, contributes to the faculty committee in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (AEIC), and actively participates in various university committees.

In 2023-2024, Dr. Zaatar was honored with the Provost's Award for Innovation in Teaching, recognizing her commitment to innovative and effective teaching methods.

Prior to her tenure at AUD, Dr. Zaatar served as the founding faculty of the Biology Pre-Med Program at the University of Balamand Dubai. Her community engagement efforts include acting as a Dubai Investments “Sustainability Champion” and overseeing community engagement initiatives in her capacity as the chair of the Community Engagement Committee, and her achievements led to her appointment as Acting Chief Academic Officer, where she oversaw the university’s academic agenda.

Drawing on her extensive experience in the corporate pharmaceutical sector spanning dermatology, cardiology, transplantation, pulmonology, and ophthalmology, Dr. Zaatar effectively bridges the gap between academia and industry.

In recent years, Dr. Zaatar has actively engaged in collaborative research with prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, American University of Beirut, University of Balamand, American Hospital Dubai, Mediclinic City Hospital, and CRID. This research spans diverse areas, including oncology, cardiovascular disorders, cytokine-related diseases, and the integration of technology in education. Dr. Zaatar has published in high-impact, Scopus-indexed journals, earning multiple national and international awards for her outstanding research work. Notably, she received recognition for her review on “The new functions of the complement factors associated with inflammation mechanisms in the Central Nervous System.”

A member of esteemed organizations such as the American Association of Immunologists, Royal Society of Biology, and the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences reviewing committee, Dr. Zaatar also serves as a co-editor for a special issue of the Frontiers of Pharmacology. As an external examiner/jury president, she evaluates postgraduate students’ theses at the University of Balamand. Furthermore, Dr. Zaatar is a Harvard alumna, having graduated from the Senior Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School in 2023.

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