Omar Abudayyeh, PhD

Omar Abudayyeh is a MIT McGovern Institute Fellow where he conducts independent research on investigating novel bacterial defense systems for genome editing and gene delivery properties. He previously was at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program as an MD/PhD student. He completed his doctoral work in Feng Zhang’s lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where his research centered on novel CRISPR enzymes for applications in genome editing, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Abudayyeh’s work focused on trying to uncover novel CRISPR enzymes beyond Cas9 for biotechnological applications. He co-led the discovery and characterization of multiple landmark pieces of work, including the characterization of Cpf1 for novel genome editing applications and the first single-protein RNA-guided RNA-targeting enzyme C2c2/Cas13. His follow-up work on C2c2/Cas13 biology led to the development of SHERLOCK technology, and a new set of tools for precise editing of transcripts and visualizing them in mammalian cells with potential for RNA therapeutics. He is currently on leave from Harvard Medical School in order to lead his own independent research group. Abudayyeh has held multiple fellowships including the Friends of the McGovern Institute Fellowship, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. He is also a recipient of the NIH F30 National Research Service Award. He has published seven co-first author papers with 23 publications overall and more than 4,000 citations in journals including Nature, Science, and Cell. Abudayyeh graduated from MIT in 2012 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and biological engineering, where he was a Henry Ford II Scholar and a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.

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