Mohamed S. Abou Donia, Ph.D.


Mohamed S. Abou Donia, Ph.D.
2017 Pew Biomedical Scholars
Assistant Professor
Molecular Biology
Princeton University
Washington Road
Moffett Laboratory, A5 Guyot Hall
City, State, ZIP
Princeton, NJ 08544
(609) 258-5870
[email protected]
Research field
Chemical Biology
Award year


The Donia lab will determine how chemicals produced by the bacteria in our body (the human microbiome) can be used to treat human diseases. Many lifesaving therapeutic drugs are derived from molecules produced by bacteria found in soil. Previously, we made the surprising discovery that microbes in the human body also produce chemicals with pharmacological properties. Most recently, we found that some of these molecules closely mimic drugs currently used in the clinic to treat several diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and infectious diseases. Here, using a combination of advanced methods in microbiology, molecular biology, chemistry, genetics, and bioinformatics, we will clone the bacterial genes that synthesize these molecules, elucidate their chemical structures, and determine whether they have the same therapeutic effects of their pharmaceutical counterparts. We will also determine the natural concentration and distribution of these microbiome-derived molecules in healthy and diseased individuals, and whether these levels can influence host physiology in mice—work that has direct ramifications for the discovery and development of novel therapeutics.

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