Surtaj Hussein, Assistant Professor | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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Surtaj Hussein, Assistant Professor

Postdoctoral Fellowships: Columbia University, New York; Queen’s University, Canada             

Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

M.S. NWFP University of Peshawar



Dr. Surtaj obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2005.  For his postdoctoral fellowship he worked at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City followed by the Cancer Research Institute at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. He also worked as a Research Associate at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Surtaj held an Assistant Professor position at South Dakota State University for 6.5 years before joining the Medical Sciences Department at AUIS in 2021. At South Dakota State University, Dr. Surtaj was the Principal Investigator and Director of his laboratory. He successfully established a novel and translational research program that created various opportunities for obtaining extramural funding, connecting with scientists from different areas of research, building partnerships with private industry, filing invention disclosures and obtaining patent protection for his discoveries.

Dr. Surtaj has 25 years of research and teaching experience from the top universities in the United States and Canada. He supervised and provided research training to 5 postdoctoral fellows, 19 post-graduate students, more than 70 undergraduate students and 12 laboratory technicians. Dr. Surtaj graduated 5 doctoral students from his lab as major advisor. He published 26 articles in highly reputable journals and has a cumulative impact factor of 124. He also presented his research in 44 conferences in the United States, Canada and Europe. Dr. Surtaj secured a total of $835,000 in research grants and funds as Principal Investigator. Served as a member of BioSystems Networks and Translational Research (BioSNTR), a 40-faculty, multi-institutional collaboration which received a $30 million grant during 2015-2020.

Dr. Surtaj’s scientific work has received remarkable recognition in local, national and international news media. Due to his growing reputation in the field, he is routinely invited and reviewed 42 scientific manuscripts for international journals and served as an editorial board member for 4 peer-reviewed scientific journals. He also served in the Editorial Board as Topic Editor for the journal 'Pharmaceutics''. His research scholarship has resulted in his place as an internationally respected scientist.


Outstanding Achievements

  1. Selected to be a part of AUIS delegate for professional development activities focused on Entrepreneurship Education and Coaching, a 2.5-year program in partnership with Saarland University (Germany) and Hashemite University (Jordan). May, 2023.

  1. Leo & Elaine Spinar Award recognizing undergraduate teaching excellence. Best department teacher award. Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, South Dakota State University (2019)

  1. Research reports have been published in more than 60 national and international news websites. 

  1. Research article was featured on the cover page of “Drug Metabolism & Disposition”, a journal of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. (2018).

  1. Obtained 2 provisional patents and filed 5 invention disclosures as an assistant professor.

  1. Reviewed 23 articles for peer-reviewed international journals as an assistant professor.

  1. Served as an Editorial Board Member for 4 international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

  1. Invited Lecture in the Department of Chemistry, Saint John’s University, MN, September 2017.

  1. Invited Lecture in the Life Science Seminar Series organized through the Department of Biology and Microbiology, SDSU. April 8th, 2016.

  1. Invited Lecture for 3rd Annual Sanford Health-SDSU Biomedical Research Symposium. Sanford Center, Sioux Falls, SD. November 10, 2015.

  1. Invited Lecture in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD. November 20, 2015.

  1. Young Investigator Award from International Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) Special Meeting, Innsbruck, Austria. (Over 300 contestants) (2012)

  1. Winner of best oral presentation, Pathology Research Day, Queen’s University, Canada. (2012)

  1. The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) Special Travel Award for FEBS Special Meeting, Innsbruck, Austria (2010)

  1. Interdisciplinary Environmental Toxicology Fellowship Award (3 yr. support) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Selected out of 60 applicants) (1998)

  1. Silver Medal in M.S. degree, NWFP University of Peshawar (awarded to 2nd best student) (1994)

  1. Gold Medal in B.S. degree, NWFP University of Peshawar (awarded to best student) (1992)