"There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there."


I was born to an Arab (Palestinian), Christian (Roman Catholic), Israeli family in 1974. To add to the complexity, I married a Japanese woman (and we have two children, Brooke and Dylan; don't know yet how confused they are about their ancestry!). In 1997 I moved to the United States, where I later became a citizen (in addition to being a citizen of Israel).

I received a BSc degree in Computer Science from the Technion (Israel) in 1996, a Master's degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University in 1998, and a PhD degree in Computer Science from UT Austin in May 2004 (Advisor: Prof. Tandy Warnow). While at UT Austin, I received the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, the Bert Kay Dissertation Award, the Texas Excellence Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

I joined the Computer Science department at Rice University as an Assistant Professor in July 2004, and was promoted to Associate Professor, with tenure, effective July 2010, and to Full Professor effective July 2016. As of July 1, 2018, I am the J.S. Abercrombie Professor of Computer Science. As of January 2017, I serve as Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.

While at Rice, I received the DOE CAREER award in 2006, the NSF CAREER award in 2009, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching award in 2009, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 2010 (in the Molecular Biology category), a John P. Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2012 (in the Organismic Biology and Ecology category), the Teaching and Research Excellence Award from the School of Engineering at Rice Univesity in 2015, and the Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Adviser Award from the School of Engineering at Rice University in 2018. In 2019, I received the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching--the university's most prestigious teaching award. In 2020, I received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching.

I enjoy doing research at the intersection of computing and biology, particularly computational research on topics related to evolution, as, to me, not only does evolution explain all biodiversity on Earth (that is, there is no need to invoke a god), but it is also the most intringuing scientific theory. To read more about my research, including my group members, publications, and support, click on the bioinformatics group and historical linguistics links on the right. I also enjoy teaching, which is why I joined the academia; click on the teaching link on the right for the courses I have taught.

For my up-to-date CV, click here.


6100 Main Street, MS 132
Houston, TX 77005, USA.
(office) Duncan Hall 3131
(phone) 713 348 3959
(fax) 713 348 5930
(email) nakhleh@rice.edu