Faculty Award: Donia, Seyedsayamdost receive NIH New Innovator Awards

Written by
Office of Communications, Princeton University, Communications Staff
Oct. 13, 2015

Princeton University faculty members Mohamed Abou Donia, an assistant professor of molecular biology, and Mohammad Seyedsayamdost, an assistant professor of chemistry, were among 41 researchers nationwide to receive 2015 New Innovator Awards from the National Institutes of Health. The awards are part of the NIH Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, which supports investigators pursuing bold research projects.

Donia will search for untapped drug sources in the uncultivated bacteria that live in the human body. Using bacterial gene clusters that are similar to existing pharmaceutical gene clusters, Donia plans to clone and characterize bacterial molecules that behave like drugs and are already conditioned to the human body.

Seyedsayamdost will study the potential of soil-dwelling bacteria to be the source of future antibiotics, especially as bacterial pathogens have become increasingly resistant to current antibiotics. Soil-dwelling bacteria, which do not infect humans, could lead to effective antibiotics not possible with current and traditional discovery methods.