Hassan Fakih, PhD



I am a Postdoctoral Associate in the lab of Prof. Anastasia Khvorova at the RNA Therapeutics Institute at UMass Chan Medical School. My research focuses on improving the extra-hepatic delivery of siRNA therapeutics using self-assembled nucleic acid particles and specific protein-binding conjugates. I am particularly interested in applying this research to the treatment of oncology, muscle diseases, and CNS disorders.

I received my B.Sc. in premedical chemistry from the American University of Beirut in 2016 and my Ph.D. in chemistry from McGill University in 2021. My Ph.D. work focused on developing DNA nanocarriers for nucleic acid therapeutics. I designed and tested DNA-based nanocarriers with characteristics that enable them to move faster into clinical trials, such as improved cost-effectiveness, biocompatibility, specificity, and stability. The work resulted in the development of sequence-controlled nucleic acid-polymer conjugates that assemble into spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) with stimuli-responsive activation, as well as chemically modified SNAs that show promising efficacy without transfection agents.

Some of this work has been recognized by the OTS community, where I have received several awards for my research, including the Dr. Alan Gewirtz Memorial Scholarship for Graduate Students in 2021. I have also been actively involved with the OTS Society since 2020. I have helped host many of the OTS monthly webinars and served as a trainee representative on the board for the 2022-2024 term. In 2022, I hosted the next-generation session in Phoenix and co-led the establishment of the first official cohort of the OTS Mentorship Program, which is now a fixed yearly offering with an annual budget to support mentees in attending the annual meeting and other mentorship events.

  • Scientific advisor to Banook Group on nucleic acid therapies (Banook Group, based in Nancy France, Montreal Canada, and Boston USA)
  • Trainee Representative Board memberto the OTS 2022-2024
  • Controlled Release Society member (CRS and Canadian Chapter –CRS, VP communications)
  • Hereditary Disease Foundation Fellow 2022-2024
  • Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology in the Arab World (SASTA) member