The program


Dr. Manal Swairjo

Associate Professor - San Diego State University


Dr. Swarijo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at San Diego State University (SDSU) where she has been a faculty member since 2015, and an affiliate of the Viral Information Institute and the SDSU Center for Molecular Biology. She completed her undergraduate studies in physics and mathematics at Kuwait University in 1989, and received her doctoral degree in cellular biophysics and X-ray crystallography from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1996. She pursued her postdoctoral training in structure-based drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline in Pennsylvania, and then joined the Scripps Research Institute as a senior research scientist in1999 until 2005. During her tenure at Scripps, she made key discoveries on the origins of life and early evolution of the genetic code.

Dr. Swairijo has previously served as a faculty member at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, where she established a multi-faceted research program in the fields of RNA biogenesis, macromolecular crystallography, molecular evolution, bioinformatics and structural enzymology. Her research contributions include discoveries of novel antibacterial drug targets; the structural basis of HIV drug resistance; structure and function of calcium signaling proteins; structure and adaptive evolution of the genetic code reading enzymes; novel chemical transformations such as biological nitrile reduction and amidation; and molecular mechanisms of epitranscriptomic modifications linked to cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease.

Dr. Swairjo is a recipient of research grant awards from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, has published and collaborated nationally and internationally, and holds several patents. She has received a RO1 Research Grant Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a Chemistry Grant Award from the National Science Foundation, the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Western University of Health Sciences in both 2014 and 2015, and an Intramural Research Grant Award from the Western University of Health Sciences. In addition to mentoring graduate students, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in biophysical chemistry, medical and general biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, biotechnology and systems biology.