Eminent Moroccans Researchers and Professors in Neurosciences Featured

Biological and Medical Sciences Written by  dimanche, 23 avril 2017 16:27 font size decrease font size increase font size
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Abeslam El Khamlichi was born 16 March 1948 in Beni Amart north of Morocco. Professor El Khamlichi is one of the neurosurgery pioneers in Morocco. He started his specialty since1970s. Appointed as head of department at Hospital of Specialties in 1983 and Professor at Medical School of Rabat in 1984 respectively, Prof El Khamlichi will show during all his career that his passion for neurosurgery is only equaled by the his devotion for developing neurosurgery in the public sector which will lead him to create in 1989 the II Hassan Foundation of Prevention and Cure of Diseases System Nervous. He became Director of the WFNS Rabat Reference Center for Training of African Neurosurgeons since2002 and Director of the National Center of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation in Rabat since 2008. Professor El Khamlichi has been invited as Visiting Professor by more than 30 universities from over 5 continents.  He organized the 13th World Congress of Neurological Surgery in Marrakech, June 2005 and has trained generations of Moroccan and African neurosurgeons. He is also a founding member and Past President of the Pan Arab Neurosurgical Society, founding member and Past President of the Maghrebian Federation of Neurosurgical Societies and was the Chairman of the WHO African Working Group in Neurosurgery, 1996. He is an active member of the WFNS (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies), SNCLF (French-Speaking Society of Neurosurgery), AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons), CNS (Congress of Neurological Surgeons), founding member of the WANS (World Academy of Neurological Surgeons) and associate member of the Japanese Society of Neurological Surgeons, member of the WHO Working Group in Neurosurgery. Research publications include 5 books and 105 articles, 82 among them published in international journals.

Awards and Prizes: He received 6 medals, 13 certificates of merit and 3 awards at national, regional and international levels. He became Honorary President of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies in September 2011.

Abdelhamid Benazzouz is a Neurophysiologist Researcher employed by the Inserm Institute working in Bordeaux University. He is expert in the field of Neuroscience and especially in Parkinson’s disease. After completing a Master degree in Morocco, he went to Bordeaux to prepare his PhD diploma in the field of Neuroscience and Pharmacology that he obtained in 1993. Dr. Benazzouz was the first to develop high frequency stimulation (HFS), named also deep brain stimulation (DBS), of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) as a therapeutical approach of Parkinson’s disease. The results obtained were spectacular; rigidity disappeared and akinesia was hardly observable. Impressed by these results, he proposed the transfer of this neurosurgical approach to parkinsonian patients. He joined as a Neurophysiologist Research Fellow the Inserm unit of Professor Alim-Louis Benabid in Grenoble to participate in transfering this approach to parkinsonian patients, with a success that has never failed since. In parallel with his hospital activity as a Neurophysiologist performing the electrophysiological mapping during surgery, he was the head of a research team in the Inserm unit investigating the functional mechanisms of this approach in animal models. In 1998 he was appointed to Inserm position as a permanent position researcher. In 2001, he came back to Bordeaux as a Principal Investigator in the CNRS unit of Professor Bernard Bioulac. In 2005 he was promoted to Research Director position. Since 2011, he is the leader of the Team "Neurochemistry, Deep Brain Stimulation & Parkinson’s disease" in the Institute of Neurodegenerative diseases in Bordeaux University, in which he is investigating the respective role of monoamines in the pathophysiology of motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. He has published more than 104 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and 25 chapters in scientific books as well as more than 70 research contributions at international conferences, international Neuroscience Schools and Universities. Internationally ranked among distinguished scholars, his publications are cited more than 15 thousand times and received 53 degrees on the global H-Index (Google Scholar).

Awards and Prizes: He obtained the National Academy of Medicine award in 2003 and the Academy of Science award in 2007. In 2010, He obtained the distinction of Scientific Excellence delivered by INSERM.

Abdeljabbar El Manira is a native of Rabat where he grew up and studied most of his life. Dr. El Manira received his BSc from the Faculté des Science, Rabat, Morocco and Ph.D. from the University of Marseille, France. He joined the Karolinska as a postdoctoral fellow to work on the spinal locomotor networks in the lamprey. He also spent 3 months at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole as a Grass fellow. Dr. El Manira is currently a Professor at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute where he is studying the organization and plasticity of the spinal networks controlling locomotion. His laboratory is using both the lamprey and zebrafish as model systems in which a range of molecular, imaging and electrophysiological techniques are used to study the locomotor circuitry. Research publications include more than 80 articles.

Awards and Prizes: King Mohammed VI decorated him in 2010 when he became a distinguished professor at Karolinska Institutet. In 2015, professor El Manira was elected member of the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that awards the Nobel Prizes.

Mimoun Azzouz was born in 1967 and graduated in Biology and Neuroscience from the University of Rabat in 1993. He obtained a Master in Neuroscience with 1st Class Honours from the University of Marseille in 1994. In 1997 he was awarded a PhD in Neuropharmacology at the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg. He then worked as postdoctoral scientist at the Gene Therapy Center in Lausanne, Switzerland from 1997 to 2000. He was recruited in 2000 by Oxford BioMedica plc as Senior Scientist then appointed as Director of Neurobiology in 2003. He was also a visiting scientist at Oxford University between 2000 and 2005. In 2006, he was invited to join the University of Sheffield and was appointed to the Chair of Translational Neuroscience. Professor Azzouz is currently Deputy Head of Neurology Unit and Director of Research & Innovation. He has several managerial tasks within the department and at the Faculty level. His track record of translational research productivity is characterized by publications in top ranking scientific journals, including Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Science Translational Medicine and JCI. One of his major achievements is his involvement in a gene therapy approach designed to achieve dopamine replacement in models of Parkinson’s disease. This strategy has yielded significant translational impact having entered into phase I/II human clinical trials since 2008. His pioneering work, which has already produced major breakthroughs in animal models, has short and medium term potential for real translation into major therapeutic advances for human neurodegenerative disease. He has been successful in attracting an array of scientific awards and funding from prestigious funding bodies.  He is frequently invited as a plenary lecturer at international scientific and clinical meetings where his work generates intense interest from the scientific community. He is/has been advisor for pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. He is currently a member of the editorial board of various journals and member of scientific Panels/Boards for various funding bodies such as the Medical Research Council (Translational MRC Panel, UK), the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM), The Research Council of Norway, the Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland and the Neuroscience Board, Germany. He has been elected as Board member of the British Society of Gene and Cell Therapy Society in 2016.

Awards and Prizes: He recently won the prestigious ERC Advanced Investigator Award (2011). This award is a top level EU ad hominem award acknowledging his pre-eminence in European biomedical research. He has been nominated for the prestigious Shaw Price. He has been a key academic partner in the successful fundraising of £18M necessary to build the new Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN).

Mohamed Kabbaj was born in 1967 and graduated in Animal physiology in 1991. He obtained a Master in Neuroscience from the University of Bordeaux II Bordeaux, France in 1993.  In 1997 he was awarded a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University Bordeaux II.  He then worked as postdoctoral scientist at the University of Michigan, from 1997 to 2001. He was recruited in 2001 as Research Investigator at University of Michigan and a FSU Fulbright Student Selection Committee.  Dr. Kabbaj joined the department of biomedical sciences at the College of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences from 2002 to 2008.   Dr. Kabbaj is a Professor conducting research in the area of stress and drug addiction. Dr. Kabbaj teaches a course in Neuropharmacology within the neuroscience program, facilitates small-group sessions with medical students and teach in various courses within the BMS PHD program.  Dr. Kabbaj uses animal models (rats, mice and voles) to examine the neurobiology of sex and individual differences in stress and drug addiction. He is also examining epigenetic mechanisms underlying social behaviors.

Awards and Prizes: He received the outstanding faculty investigator award in 2014, the Faculty Council Award Outstanding Senior Faculty Researcher in 2009 and the Developing Scholar Award, Florida State University in 2011. In 2016, Dr. Kabbaj has received a $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study how the brain helps us maintain lifelong social bonds through epigenetics.

Maurice Ptito was born June 11, 1946 in Casablanca, Morocco. He obtained his Ph.D. in Experimental Neuropsychology from Université de Montréal and a doctorat in Health Sciences (Doctor Medicinae) from the University of Aarhus (Denmark). He trained as post-doctoral fellow in Neurophysiology at Stanford University Medical School (California). Dr Ptito is Professor of Visual Neuroscience at the School of Optometry (Université de Montréal) He is also an Adjunct Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute (McGill University) and Guest Professor at the Danish Research Center for Magnetic Resonance (University of Copenhagen). He currently holds the Harland Sanders Research Chair in Vision Science.  Dr. Ptito has published four books and more than 125 scientific papers.

Awards and Prizes: Dr. Ptito has received Sir John William Dawson Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Henry and Karla Hensen Prize (Denmark) and a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. Honors and awards include also Canadian Psychological Association (Fellow), Royal Society of Medicine (London, Fellow), Harland Sanders Research Chair (Laureate), American Academy of Optometry Fellow, Henry and Karla Hensen prize.

Allal Boutajangout has completed his PhD in Neuropathology at Free University of Brussels, School of Medicine (ULB-Erasme Hospital) in 2005 andPostdoctoral training at New York University School of Medicine. He is a Research Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Physiology and Psychiatry. He is also the chief of Neurodegeneration and Drug Discovery Program within Center for Cognitive Neurology at NYU.  His research focuses on a new derivative peptide of Amyloid beta for use as immunotherapy or vaccine that trains the immune system to recognize and remove amyloid-beta in the brain as well as on a novel therapy targeting one of the major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, Neurofibrillary tangles. He was an integral part of the group at NYU who developed the first vaccines (active and passive immunization) targeting tau pathology in animal models of AD. More recently, he explores the possible therapeutic potential effect of the Stem Cell in AD mouse models. He is now focusing on the development of a new therapy and immunotherapy targeting Alzheimer’s disease and other related disorders such as prion, stroke and brain Injury. He has published more than 30 papers in reputed journals and serves as a reviewer for many scientific journals.

Awards and Prizes: He received prestigious award Margaret M Cahn for his outstanding research in the field of Alzheimer’s and other awards from: Alzheimer association, NIH pilot grant, Toyama Company, Revalesio Company and coinvestigator in 5 RO1 NIH grants.

Wail Benjelloun earned a Ph.D. degree from SUNY Binghamton in Psychology (Neuroscience) in 1976. He has taught since then at the Faculties of Science of Mohammed V University in Rabat at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels, where he also participated in regular evaluation and academic reform projects. During his professional career, Dr. Benjelloun assumed a series of responsibilities, including Biology Department Head (1990-1994), Vice President for Academic Affairs at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (1994-1999), Dean of the Faculty of Science at Mohammed V University (2005-2010) and President of the same university (2010-2015). He has also been active in several Executive Boards for new universities in Morocco, as well as in several national and international commissions on higher education. He is also a member of the Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright Morocco). He is currently president of the Mediterranean Universities Union UNIMEDDr. Benjelloun is an active researcher, with interests centered on malnutrition and brain chemistry and behavior. He founded the first fundamental research laboratory in neuroscience in Morocco and has supervised the training of many specialists in the field. He publishes regularly in specialized international indexed journals. He was instrumental in founding the Moroccan Association for Neuroscience in 1984 and served as its president for several mandates. He also chaired the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa, and was an active member of the Executive Council of IBRO, the International Brain Research Association. He is currently President of ISP, the International Society of Pathophysiology.

Awards and Prizes: Dr. Benjelloun was decorated in 2002 as an Officer of the Order of the Throne (Morocco).​




Read 11208 times Last modified on samedi, 29 avril 2017 23:40

Arabways Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter


Recent Twitter Posts


The main criterion for election as a ARABWAYS Member is scientific excellence. Only those scientists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science can be nominated as Members

Becoming a member is easy! Just make sure you have all of the items listed below :

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Students and Postdocs: Proof of enrollment/status such as letter of acceptance and contact information for a department/faculty contact. 
  • Membership form