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Who is Dr. Mehmood Khan, Pakistan’s First Scientist to Get Saudi Citizenship as Award?

Dr. Mehmood Khan

This week, Pakistani scientist Dr. Mehmood Khan joined a prestigious group of doctors, researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs worldwide who have been granted Saudi citizenship, according to a list published by the financial news portal Argaam.

Dr. Khan, also an American national, is currently the CEO of the Hevolution Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of aging-related treatments, speeding up drug development timelines, and improving access to life-extending therapeutics.

Read more: Vision 2030: Saudi Arabia Plans Citizenship for Skilled Professionals

Hevolution Foundation, a global non-profit based in Riyadh with a North American hub and an annual budget of up to $1 billion, is the second-largest geroscience funder globally. Geroscience is a field of biomedical research focusing on how aging processes drive chronic diseases.

Dr. Khan was awarded Saudi citizenship as part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative, which aims to attract and retain exceptional global talent to enhance the kingdom’s economic and social development. A royal decree issued in November 2021 allows professionals in specialized fields such as science, medicine, culture, sports, and technology to apply for citizenship.

Dr. Khan, who earned his medical degree from the University of Liverpool Medical School in England, was among the high achievers who received Saudi citizenship this week, as mentioned in Argaam.

“I grew up in England and haven’t had the chance to grow up in Pakistan,” Dr. Khan said during a 2015 interview at OPEN Silicon Valley, an international organization of Pakistani entrepreneurs. “I’m proud to be Pakistani, though.”

He advised aspiring corporate leaders and medical professionals to take risks and pursue their passions. “Do take risks. Do not be afraid to take risks and do the best you can but pursue your passion,” he said.

Dr. Khan has an impressive profile, with a career spanning three decades in senior corporate and medical positions. He has served as CEO at Life Biosciences Inc., vice chairman and chief scientific officer of global research and development at PepsiCo from 2007 to 2019, and president of global research and development at Takeda Pharmaceuticals from 2003 to 2008. He was also the director of the diabetes, endocrine, and nutritional trials unit at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School from 2001 to 2003.

Dr. Khan is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology. He chaired the US-Pakistan Business Council from 2016 to 2019 and remains a board member of Reckitt Benckiser, a renowned British multinational consumer goods company.

Dr. Khan advised those aspiring to senior positions in corporate and medical fields to “reinvent” themselves. “You cannot be the same person you were 30 years ago,” Dr. Khan told OPEN Silicon Valley. “If I were still doing what I learned 30 years ago, I couldn’t even practice medicine, let alone do what I do today.”