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KAUST Academic Divisions

The Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division provides a unique opportunity to unite technology with the life sciences, to promote engineering-inspired biology.

BESE's missions is to create an enabling platform and intellectual space for knowledge and advanced technologies through research that is aligned with KAUST's four thrusts (food, energy, water and the environment). Two strategic research themes that allow for a natural alignment with these thrusts are: Adaptive Biology and Environmental Systems. 
The science produced in PSE is about understanding, modeling, and manipulating matter at all scales: nano, meso and macroscopic levels; in all forms: bulk, thin films, divided colloids, fluid flows, earth as system etc.; and in interaction with external stimuli: light, heat, fluids, etc.; or stresses. The knowledge created serves to design and engineer materials, technologies, and systems that will address issues related to KAUST’s four thrusts: water, food, energy, and the environment.​​
With facilities such as Shaheen (one of the world’s fastest super computers) and the CORNEA Visualization Center, the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division is one of the best-equipped places in the world to carry out cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research.​

KAUST Research Centers

The research portfolio of KAUST’s Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC) encompasses computational biology and bioinformatics with applications in life sciences. The CBRC mission is design of novel high performance computational biology/bioinformatics methods, tools, resources and models that will lead to and speed up development of applications in synthetic biology and biotechnology and validating these applications in engineered cells.

CBRC aims to develop: (i) An infrastructure for bioinformatics and computational/mathematical modeling of microbial systems to generate deeper insights into functioning of microorganisms. (ii) An infrastructure for rational design of synthetic biology constructs (parts and their compositions) to enable informed engineering of microorganisms for industrial applications feasible and relevant within the Saudi Arabian context. (iii) Engineered microorganisms capable of carbon capture and conversion to targeted industrially important chemicals, enzymes or biomass.
The Visual Computing Center ensures that KAUST is at the forefront of Petascale Computing, Modeling, Visualization & immersive environments.

The Center possesses top expertise and performs Fundamental & Application-oriented Research in a variety of areas of Visual Computing, such as: Geometric Modeling, Geometry Processing, Scientific Visualization, Virtual Reality, Rendering, Simulation, Computational Geometry & topology, Computer Vision, and Imaging Science. There is a strong focus on novel applications with a high potential for the advancement of science and technology. In particular, the Center provides a unique interactive environment that cultivates multidisciplinary collaborations among KAUST Researchers and Students as well as Industry Researchers and Collaborators interested in exploring the Mathematical properties of Systems in Pure Sciences and Engineering.​
Developing an agriculture to feed a still-growing human population on a warming Earth demands the development of an approach to agriculture that simultaneously optimizes biological productivity and minimizes water and energy consumption, nutrient inputs, environmental impact and cost. We call this a “systems” approach to agriculture, recognizing that it is about the design of different kinds of food production systems, both indoor (greenhouse) and outdoor (field), each with its own biological constraints, water and energy requirements that need to be optimized for local climatic conditions.


At the core is KAUST’s Center for Desert Agriculture (CDA), which brings together biologists with interests ranging from the basic physiology, genetics/genomics and epigenetics of plants and their interactions with microbes to applied research in crop improvement, insect control and aquaculture.

Collaborators and Networks

The Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism (CEM) brings together researchers at UCI interested in epigenetics, chromatin remodeling and cellular metabolism by fostering research interactions, developing novel strategies, and informing the UCI community of the remarkable developments in the field.​​​
As an FP7 European Community-funded Network of Excellence, EpiGeneSys’s goals go further than simply funding a research project. Our extensive training program is helping to build a bridge between the fields of epigenetics and systems biology and our public education mission will communicate the science in an accessible and interesting fashion while awakening young pupils’ interest in research.​
Omics Science Center is aiming to develop a comprehensive system called "Life Science Accelerator"(LSA) for the advancement of omics research. The LSA is a comprehensive system consisting of biological resources, human resources, technologies, know-how and essential administrative ability. Ultimate goal of LSA is to support and accelerate the advancement in life science research.​
The goal of the EPIGEN project is to understand how epigenetic mechanisms regulate biological processes, determine phenotypic variation and contribute to the onset and progression of diseases.

The EPIGEN project is highly multidisciplinary and involves 70 Italian research teams working in close collaboration. Our laboratories employ different experimental models, approaches and technologies. We aim to establish a multidisciplinary national network to keep these synergies beyond the lifetime of the project.

Core Labs

The Bioscience Core Lab  supports and initiates scientific research and technology transfer by providing technologically advanced research methodologies to resolve questions facing the KAUST Bioscience Research Community and their Collaborators from Academia and Industry. ​
The Advanced Nanofabrication, Imaging and Characterization Core Facilities are dedicated to providing the instrumentation, technical expertise, and team-teaching environment to stimulate collaborative research in nanoscale technology. The facility is a multidisciplinary laboratory that supports research across many different departments within KAUST.​
The Visualization Laboratory at KAUST is a state-of-the-art facility that offers students, faculty, researchers and university collaborators a unique opportunity to utilize one-of-a-kind visualization, interaction, and computational resources for the exploration and presentation of scientific data. 2D and 3D display environments, highly spatialized and immersive audio, monoscopic and stereoscopic displays, wireless interaction devices, and fully integrated and portable desktop applications are some of the services the laboratory offers.​
The Analytical Core Lab has specialized laboratories for spectroscopy, chromatography and mass spectrometry, trace metals analysis, wet chemistry, and surface analysis. The state-of-the-art instrumentations and operations of ACL are controlled by a LabWare LIMS system. The Lab offers analytical services in the fields of environmental science (air, water, marine organisms, sea water, nutrients, pollutants, etc.), industrial hygiene, geochemistry, bio/pharmaceutical, material science, health and safety, polymer and catalysis.​
The Supercomputing Laboratoty aims to inspire and enable scientific, economic and social advances through the develoopment and application of high perfomance computing solutions, through collaboration with KAUST researchers and partners, and through the provision of world-class computational systems and services.
The Coastal & Marine Resources Core Lab (CMOR) is dedicated to providing technical support and project assistance for scientific research in maritime disciplines, environmental monitoring, coastal/terrestrial surveys, and infrastructure development projects. CMOR is committed to providing safe and effective transport and technical platforms for all KAUST marine research activities.​
The main objectives of the Central Workshops are to assist researchers and students in their work by producing the required parts at the highest quality and to produce equipment that is required for research facilities.