Meet our Programme Directors

The staff who teach and work alongside you are a key part of your University experience. Our Programme Directors work to ensure your courses provide the theoretical and practical foundations to allow you to succeed in your future career.

Sachin Dessai

Foundation in Engineering and Physical Sciences

“Opening the Dubai campus is vital to develop the global presence of the University of Birmingham. By having an option to study in the campus of their choice, we are benefiting a larger number of the student community and giving them access to a world-class education”

Sachin is an experimental Physicist with over 25 years experience in teaching. He brings with him a wealth of international teaching knowledge, managing curricula as well as a commitment to attainment of the highest standards in education. Sachin has a track record of pioneering a very successful overseas Undergraduate Preparatory Course in Science and Engineering for the University College of London. He is looking forward to setting up a world-class Foundation Year Programme at the University of Birmingham Dubai campus.

Dr. Alex Zyh Siong Chong

BEng Mechanical Engineering

“My colleagues and I are looking forward to welcoming our very first cohort of students this September on their journey of learning, development and self-discovery with us, a leading global university.”

Dr Chong was a British Chevening Scholar who completed his studies in Mechncial Engineering with the University of Glamorgan. Based upon his PhD work, he was subsequently awarded with a Portuguese Doctorate equivalence from the Universidade da Beira Interior, Portugal in 2000. Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, he was formerly the Head of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of South Wales for 10 years where he established a successful set of aircraft and aeronautical engineering courses in collaboration with British Airways Engineering and GE Aviation Wales. He also led and secured two consecutive rounds of accreditation approval from the UK RAeS (Royal Aeronautical Society) and the IMechE (Instiution of Mechanical Engineers) for the aeronautical set of courses. On the research front, Dr. Chong has over 19 years of involvement in primarily energy based research with UK and European industries. His research outputs to date include £2.5M of joint research income, 46 papers (21 journal publications) including a book chapter, a patent and the successful supervision of 6 PhD graduates and 5 post-docs. Dr. Chong has over 20 years of HE teaching experience on a range of Mechanical Engineering modules in Malaysia, Portugal, China and United Kingdom.

Dr. Kashif Rajpoot

BSc Computer Science

“We are proud to offer the same high-quality curriculum and teaching of our Computer Science degree programmes in Dubai as at our ‘home’ campus in Birmingham. We look forward to working with students when they arrive in September.”

Dr Kashif Rajpoot studied for his post-doc and PhD in Medical Image Analysis at the University of Oxford (UK). During this time, he worked on problems in registration, segmentation, tracking, feature extraction, and multi-view fusion of 3D echocardiography images to develop techniques for multi-view 3D echocardiography analysis. He has been with the University of Birmingham since early 2016. Prior to that, he obtained research, academic and international experience at various reputable institutions including University of Oxford (UK), King Faisal University (Saudi Arabia), National University of Sciences & Technology (Pakistan), and GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences & Technology (Pakistan). His research has made important contributions in the application of machine learning and image analysis in solving biomedical problems. At Birmingham, he has taught a range of modules including Introduction to Software Engineering, Machine Learning, Introductory Computer Science, and Computational Tools for Modelling and Analysis, also teaching a number of other modules at previous institutions. 

Dr. UmmeSalma Husein

Dr. UmmeSalma Husein

BSc Business Management

“I will be leading the programme from the front and working closely with my colleagues in Birmingham. My role is very exciting and challenging at the same time as it becomes the front face for students, as I establish the same standards to deliver the ‘A’ class student experience for our new cohort and ensure our market reputation for the School in general and the programme in particular matches with what a UoB degree stands for.”

Dr. UmmeSalma is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. In her previous position at Heriot-Watt University, she led the part-time undergraduate programme, and pioneered the industry collaboration and mentoring agenda for honours year students. She led the introduction and successful implementation of personal tutoring and mentoring across the undergraduate years at the School of Social sciences as well as the alignment project with Edinburgh. She has taught International Business, Business Ethics, Management in a Global Context, Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship modules. Dr. UmmeSalma has over a decade and half experience in transnational higher education. She has presented at various local and international conferences and has authored book chapters and referred journal articles on transnational higher education in the GCC region. Her other specials research area Islamic management and tourism, particularly religious tourism and pilgrimage. She has been guest editor to international tourism and hospitality journals and is a regular reviewer for International Tourism and Strategy journals. 

Dr. Sheikh Selim

Dr. Sheikh Selim

BSc Economics and BSc Money, Banking & Finance

“My goals have always been to establish and sustain excellence in teaching and learning, and to incorporate research as an integral part of it. These goals will remain unchanged in Dubai. I will continue research-informed and reflective teaching practice to ensure optimum learning experience for students and the members of academic staff in the programmes which I will lead.”

Sheikh Selim joined the University of Birmingham as a Senior Lecturer of Economics in 2018, having previously been a Senior Lecturer of Economics at Westminster Business School, and a lecturer of Economics at Cardiff Business School. Sheikh's main research areas are Macroeconomics, Economic Growth & Development and Public Finance. He has published papers on Optimal Tax Theory, Sectoral Productivity and Agricultural Productivity & Growth in renowned journals such as Economic Modelling, Agricultural Economics, Journal of Business and Policy Research, Applied Economics, Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis in Social Sciences and Economics Bulletin. His current research includes the growth and welfare effects of optimal tax policy and banking development & productivity. Sheikh served as a consultant in the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, and wrote invited articles for the Conversation. He has served as a referee for Journal of Behavioural Finance, Journal of Public Economic Theory, Journal of Macroeconomics, European Economic Review, International Economic Review, Singapore Economic Review, ESRC, Qatar Foundation, University of Wales Press, Cambridge University Press, among others. 

Dr. Mei-Na Liao

Dr. Mei-Na Liao

MSc International Business

“I am thrilled about bringing this very well established programme from Birmingham to Dubai, a truly global hub. My goal is to create a truly internationally excellent learning experience for our students by bringing the rigour and critical approach of UK higher education tradition to Dubai campus as well as engaging with local employers to enhance our students’ employability.”


Mei-Na is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. Prior joining Birmingham, she was a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and the Director of Studies for MSc programmes at the University of Bradford School of Management. She is passionate about sustainable international business education and successfully launched the International Master’s Summer School for Sustainability in Business in 2015 at Bradford.  She taught in the MBA International Week series of the EADA International Business School in Barcelona, Spain in 2005-2007 and MSc Marketing programme in the Tias International Business School in Utrecht, Holland since 2014 as a guest professor. She taught at the Nottingham University School of Management before joining Bradford. Mei-Na specialises in customer engagement management in services sector, non-profit and higher education sector.  She has a broad research interest on service marketing, social marketing and pedagogical design for sustainable business education. She published in a number of international research journals, namely, the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Journal of General Management, Corporate Communication: An International Journal and International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. She won the Emerging Scholar award at the Association for Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Voluntary Action Conference, 2000, in New Orleans, USA. She is also the winner of the Best Social Marketing Paper Award at the European Marketing Academy Conference 2008.