Omair Khan was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to Vaseem and Rubina Khan, immigrants from India who came to the United States to pursue better educational opportunities for themselves and their family. Growing up in in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans while experiencing prejudice and discrimination, Omair’s parents instilled in their children the importance of unrelenting resilience and hard work to aspire towards realizing the coveted American Dream. These lessons would prove to be extremely helpful for Omair in years to come. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated Omair’s hometown displacing his family for months before they resettled in Chicago, Illinois. Soon thereafter, Omair’s father suffered a life-changing brain tumor diagnosis that inspired him to pursue a career in medicine.
Hailing from a family of educators, Omair’s own pursuit of higher education began at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), a boarding school where he received a full-ride scholarship. There, he formed an early interest in science and research through IMSA’s Student Inquiry and Research Program (SIR), affording Omair the opportunity to work in the laboratory of Professor Mashkoor Choudhry at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. There, Omair published three scientific papers in Plos One and Shock.
Omair attended Yale University where he studied molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and global health studies. Building off his research exposure in high school, Omair spent four years conducting basic science research in the laboratory of Professor Richard Flavell, where he studied T-cell metabolism and mucosal immunology, culminating in authorship on two scientific papers published in Nature.
Omair spent his summers in college exploring the private sector at a biotechnology startup in Silicon Valley, working as a healthcare policy intern at the United States Senate, and performing global health field work in one of the world’s largest refugee camps in Bangladesh. These diverse experiences taught him the importance of collaboration between interdisciplinary actors across academia, industry, policy, and international partners to effectively and efficiently deliver world-class healthcare to everyone who needs it.
Omair is currently an MD/PhD student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Stanford University, working to obtain his PhD in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine under the mentorship of Professor Irving Weissman. Omair also works as a senior fellow for ARTIS Ventures, a life science venture capital firm pioneering investments in TechBio and is the inaugural Jim Valentine TechBio Fellow at the Institute of Education (IFE), a non-profit organization committed to engaging the global community to harness the power of data, innovation, and soft diplomacy.