How do I know who my advisor is? Can I change my advisor?

​For M.S. students, your advisor when you are admitted to KAUST is the Program Chair. For Ph.D. students, your advisor is your PI (supervisor) whose lab you have been accepted in to. 

Yes, you can change your advisor. M.S. students are advised to do so if/when they begin their thesis or directed research.  Ph.D. students do have the ability to change advisors, but the overall impact to the Ph.D. project, as well as the time left to finish the Ph.D., could be significant.  This will have to be taken into account before approval.

​M.S. students need 36 credits (combination of courses and research is specific to your program). 

Ph.D. students need 6 credits of 300-level coursework and will earn dissertation research credit each semester until they defend (no minimum credits established, although there is a minimum residency requirement of 2.5 years).

​During your final M.S. semester at KAUST, you will be eligible to submit a “rollover” application.  You will be contacted by the Admissions Office for this.  You must have a confirmed supervisor in order for the application to be approved.

​M.S. students get all university holidays (Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, Spring break).  

Ph.D. students get university holidays and three weeks of annual/vacation leave per calendar year to be taken in agreement with your PI.

​Mandatory, core and elective courses are listed in the program guide. The program guides for all BESE programs can be found here 
​“Time Extension to Complete M.S. Thesis” application request can be submitted by the 9th week of your final Fall semester.  See application for required approvals here .
​No.  Only once during your time here at KAUST.  If “WE Courses” appears on your KAUST transcript, that means you have met this requirement.​
​Yes, both M.S. and Ph.D. in all BESE programs must register, attend, and receive an S grade for the graduate seminar each semester (Spring and Fall, NOT summer).

​Yes. Drop and Add deadlines are on the academic calendar.

​Your GPC can help you request these from the Registrar’s Office, or you can contact them directly at  RegistrarHelpDesk@KAUST.EDU.SA​​ 

Latest Events

Antimicrobial Peptide Digital Optimization Enables The Bioinspired Products Generation

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have attracted considerable attention because of their multiple and complex mechanisms of action toward resistant bacteria. However, reports have increasingly highlighted how bacteria can escape AMP administration. Here, we have described the use of multiple strategies including genetic and Joker algorithms as well as an artificial intelligence strategy to design bioinspired AMPs derived from bacteria, plants, and animals. This approach yielded different peptide classes including those that possess an unusually high proportion of cationic residues and hydrophobic counterparts. At least dozens of peptides emerged as prototype AMP, among natural analogs screened for their activity against an engineered luminescent Pseudomonas strain. Peptides were further characterized in terms of structure, activity, mechanism of action, and biotechnological potential for the development of new compounds useful for human and animal health. Most of those novel peptides were unstructured in water and underwent a coil-to-helix transition in hydrophobic environments. This conformation was corroborated by NMR analysis in dodecylphosphocholine micelles, which revealed an α-helical structure. Peptides generated caused a bactericidal effect at low micromolar concentrations to several resistant bacteria, causing membrane disruption, without triggering depolarization but rather hyperpolarization. Finally, here the strategies for production on a large scale were also discussed to prepare such peptides for the market. In summary, the present work presents a computational approach to explore natural products for the design of short and potent peptide antibiotics that could be used against resistant bacteria.

Octávio Luiz Franco holds a degree in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Ceará (1998) and a PhD in Biological Sciences (Molecular Biology) from the University of Brasília (2001). He conducted his initial post-doctoral research in 2001 at Embrapa, followed by another at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has undertaken work missions in numerous countries, including Australia, Israel, Portugal, Cuba, the Netherlands, and others. Dr. Franco completed his first sabbatical at the University of Wisconsin (USA) and the second at the University of British Columbia (Canada), focusing on infectious disease control. Currently, he serves as a professor at Universidade Catolica de Brasilia and University Catolica Dom Bosco. Additionally, he coordinates the National Institute of Science and Technology Bioinspir for bioinspired products. Dr. Franco holds the position of Researcher 1A and serves as a consultant to the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Furthermore, he is a member of the Brazilian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SBBq), The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), ASM (American Society of Microbiology), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His research is concentrated on the development of bioproducts and bioprocesses, with a particular emphasis on the control of pathogenic microorganisms. Dr. Franco has authored nearly 500 papers, advised hundreds of students, and held dozens of patents for products that have entered the cosmetic and animal health markets.


Professor Octávio Luiz Franco