Hi, my name is



I’m a strong advocate for equity and inclusion of individuals from marginalized groups in STEM fields. I’m also a passionate community builder and research data manager specialized in metadata and curation with a passion for OpenScience and all things FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperably, Resuable).

About Me

Hi, I’m Sara El-Gebali, a passionate and seasoned Project Lead, Product Owner, and Research Data Manager with a Ph.D. in cancer research. With a solid experience in managing vast volumes of scientific data, robust leadership skills, and technical know-how, I’m driven by my passion for transforming data into actionable insights.

Currently, at SciLifeLab-DataCentre, I successfully oversee the implementation of Open Source technical solutions, advance FAIR data practices, and lead a dynamic team of developers and data stewards in an agile development environment. I am also a certified product owner from scrum.org and a metadata and curation specialist, bringing my extensive experience in Agile development to the fore.

Formerly, as the Unit Head for Research Data Management at the Max Delbruck Centre for Molecular Medicine (MDC), I devised roadmaps and implemented strategies, policies, and governance procedures that effectively removed barriers to open research.

I’ve also had the privilege of leading the development of the Open Data module for NASA’s OpenCore project, coordinating globally distributed activities.

I’ve co-founded FAIRPoints and have been actively involved in the FAIR Digital Objects forum’s steering committee, further showcasing my dedication and proficiency in the application of FAIR data principles. I believe in the power of data and AI in driving future breakthroughs in healthcare, and my background in data management, stewardship, digital science, and Agile methodology uniquely positions me to contribute significantly in this direction.

I’m also a mentor at Open Life Science and an active member of various communities, promoting Open & FAIR Research practices and championing Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. Through these roles, I continuously strive to shape the future of science and pioneer innovative, data-driven solutions.

Having worked extensively in life science research, I fully understand the intricate challenges associated with managing data in a research and development context. I am always excited about contributing to organizations that value scientific innovation and data-driven solutions. Reach out to me if you’re interested in discussing FAIR data principles, open science, or data-driven healthcare solutions. I’m always eager to contribute my expertise and drive towards making a difference.

What am I currently working on?


Project Lead-Metadata & Curation - SciLifeLab-DataCentre-Sweden
August 2021 - present

I am currently working as a Project Lead-Metadata & Curation SciLifeLab-DataCentre in Sweden.

My main tasks include:

  • Leading a team of developers and datastewards in Agile fashion
  • Setting up technical systems for handling large datasets mostly produced by infrastructure facilities as well as Researchers from the Data Driven Life Science program
  • Mapping out and aligning activities related to Life Science Research Data Management training efforts on a national level
  • Contributing to national and international efforts towards promotion of Open and FAIR scientific practices (e.g. GO BUILD US, RDA groups)
Co-Founder of FAIRPoints - FAIRPoints
January 2021 - present

FAIRPoints is an event series highlighting pragmatic measures developed by the community towards the implementation of the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles. My main tasks include:

  • Curation of event themes and topics
  • Developing and adapting metadata schemas for representation of event summaries, see resources
  • Coordinating community activities and output
  • Establishing partnerships models and engaging with a variety of organizations including GoFAIR US, SDSC, AGU, and SciLifeLab Data Centre
  • Connecting and collecting heterogeneous input from a global perspective and supporting equitable access
  • Developing FAIR for beginners training material together with community members
Head of Research Data Management - MDC-Germany
June 2020 - July 2021

My main tasks included:

  • Establishing the research data management unit
  • Creating policies, guidelines, strategies & roadmap
  • Consultations on Scientific Computing projects (e.g. archiving, human research data handling)
  • Community building promoting Open & FAIR Research practices
  • Providing support and advice for researchers
  • Providing training and workshops
  • Carpentries Certified Instructor & lead lesson maintainer for FAIR library lesson
  • Delivering technical solutions for data handling
  • Facilitating data management from infrastructures including genomics and imaging
Scientific Database Curator - EMBL-EBI-UK
June 2016 - Aug 2019

My main tasks included:

  • Curation and analysis of large protein sequence datasets
  • Teaching bioinformatics resources for protein biology
  • Creating online educational resources
  • Contributed to regulatory and governance processes as a member of the Staff Association committee
  • Promoting Open Data practices and FAIR principles
Scientific Data editor - EMBO-Germany
Jan 2015 - June 2016

My main tasks included:

  • Analysis and interpretation of the scientific content i.e. curation, creating structured and machine-readable metadata
  • Co-ordinating activities with software and bioinformatics teams
  • Creating workflows for editorial and production processes
  • Create new avenues for promoting the project


Co-Founder of FAIRPoints.
Founder of OpenCIDER (Open Computational Inclusion & Digital Equity Resource).
RDA/EOSC Future Domain Ambassador
RDA/EOSC Future Domain Ambassador
Domain Ambassador- Life Science domain.
TOPS- Transform to Open Science
TOPS- Transform to Open Science
NASA Open Core- Open Data Module Lead
Open Life Science
Open Life Science
Open Life Science Mentor, Expert and Governance Committee.


2010 - 2014
University of Bern, Switzerland
Graduate project investigating the role of metabolic cell signaling pathways and amino acid transporters in colon cancer progression.
2007 - 2008
QMUL: Queen Mary University of London, UK
Graduate project investigating cancer related inflammation in skin carcinogenesis. Awarded the Cancer Research UK bursary.
University of Lund, Sweden
Graduate studies in Molecular Biology.

Get In Touch

Happy to connect my email is always open!