Molecular biologist Mohamed Abou featured in new video and article from the Vilcek Foundation


Mohamed Abou Donia is the recipient of a 2021 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science


Credit: The Vilcek Foundation

NEW YORK, March 8, 2021–The Vilcek Foundation recognizes the research contributions and work of Princeton University faculty member Mohamed Abou Donia in a new article and video. Abou Donia is the recipient of a 2021 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science. He receives the award for his rigorous work on the impact of the microbiome of humans and other organisms on host health, disease, and the environment.

The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science are awarded annually to early- and mid-career immigrant scientists living and working in the United States. The awards are bestowed on individuals whose early-career work exemplifies outstanding scientific accomplishment, and whose work represents a significant contribution to their field of study. The prizes highlight the value of immigration and diversity for enabling scientific advancement and discovery.

Abou Donia, a native of Egypt, is an associate professor and a principal investigator at Princeton University. His laboratory studies small-molecule-mediated interactions between host organisms and their microbiomes, and the implied impacts for health and disease outcomes. Abou Donia’s research has led to the development of screening methods to reveal with individual-level precision how drugs are metabolized by the human gut microbiome, and mapped microbiome-encoded genes involved in drug metabolism.

“Microbes that live on humans are capable of producing molecules of the same kind as clinically used therapeutics,” he says. “It’s very important to understand what these molecules do to us, and whether we can harness this repertoire of molecules for treating human diseases.”

Abou Donia’s interest in small-molecule interactions grew out of his studies in pharmacy at Suez Canal University. Abou Donia earned his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Utah, and completed his post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. Abou Donia received an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award in 2015, and was named a Pew Biomedical Scholar in 2017. He is the recipient of a Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research.

The article and video from the Vilcek Foundation highlight the scientific value of Abou Donia’s work, and the experiences and insights that have shaped his path to this work.

Read the article and watch the video at the following link: Mohamed Abou Donia: “How our microbial partners affect our health.”


The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science

For more information about the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science, read the Vilcek Foundation’s announcement from March 1, 2021, or contact [email protected]

The Vilcek Foundation

The Vilcek Foundation raises awareness of immigrant contributions in the United States and fosters appreciation of the arts and sciences. The foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the foundation–to honor immigrant contributions to the United States, and more broadly to foster appreciation of the arts and sciences–was inspired by the couple’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded over $5.8 million in prizes to foreign-born individuals and supported organizations with over $5.2 million in grants.

The Vilcek Foundation is a private operating foundation, a federally tax-exempt nonprofit organization under IRS Section 501(c)(3).

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