Omar Abudayyeh is an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School/Harvard-MIT Health Sciences, and Technology program as a Friends of the McGovern Institute Fellow, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and graduate fellow of the National Science Foundation. His doctoral research is advised by Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. In 2012, he graduated with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Henry Ford II Scholar (the top graduating engineering student) and a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.
His research interests are at the intersection of genome editing tools and computational biology where he is developing better molecular tools for manipulating cell circuits in diseases such as cancer. Previously, he worked at the MIT Koch Institute for Cancer Research on developing a nanotechnology-based urine test for diagnosing cancer and liver fibrosis, and at Flagship Ventures on leveraging the bacteria in the body to develop breakthrough therapeutics.
His current work at the Broad Institute is focused on taking inspiration from bacteria for developing tools to manipulate and study the human genome in health and disease. He has extensive experience in engineering molecular tools derived from bacterial systems and in applications of transcription modulation. He has published a number of papers, including two co-first author papers on applications of CRISPR-Cas9 (Dahlman et al., Nature Biotechnology, 2015) and the discovery and engineering of new tools from bacteria (Shmakov et al., Molecular Cell, 2015) and multiple co-author papers in Nature and Cell on transcriptional control with Cas9 and the engineering of Cpf1 as a new genome editing tool.