Strategic Initiatives Manager, Research Operations
Dr. Damien Lightfoot has a background in research, with a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Adelaide (Australia) in 2007. Following postdoc positions in Australia in the field of plant stress tolerance, Damien moved to KAUST in 2014 and spent four years as a research scientist in the Division of BESE. During this time, Damien continued his research on plant stress tolerance, while developing an interest in bioinformatics and genomics. As a research scientist at KAUST, Damien produced four first-author publications, including one publication in Nature.
In 2018, Damien transitioned to a role in research operations and support by moving to the Office of the Vice President for Research to serve as the Program Lead for Researcher and Postdoc Support. In this role, Damien created, expanded and managed the Office of Postdoc and Researcher Affairs (OPRA). OPRA is responsible for supporting the career and professional development needs of ~1000 postdocs and researchers and also plays a key role in administrative processes related to postdocs and researchers. Damien also led the development of key programs, policies and strategy related to postdocs and researchers.
In 2022, Damien joined the KAUST Smart-Health Initiative (KSHI) as the Strategic Initiatives Manager. Damien brings his experience with university operations and strategy to the KSHI and is leading the development of strategy, programs and policies.