Mohamed Abou Donia, Ph.D.

Princeton University


Regulation and evolution of defensive symbioses in marine organisms.

Mohamed Abou Donia, Ph.D.

Research Description

Microbial symbionts greatly influence the physiology, ecology and evolution of their multicellular hosts through a series of complex and multilayered interactions. In marine ecosystems, many organisms employ toxins to kill or deter predators and pathogenic microbes in a phenomenon known as “chemical defense.” In some cases, these defensive toxins are produced by intracellular bacterial symbionts within the multicellular hosts. Our research goals are to discover the molecular bases of defensive toxin production, regulation and evolution in various marine symbioses.

Research Impact

Defensive symbioses are widespread in the marine environment and are an essential component of the healthy marine ecosystem. Understanding defensive symbioses at the level of molecular mechanism will reveal how microbes influence host biology and ecology and will shed light on the origins and evolution of marine symbioses at large.


related links

Science Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Princeton University, Department of Molecular Biology Back


  • B.Sc., Pharmacy, Suez Canal University, Egypt
  • Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry, Chemistry and Metagenomics of Marine Invertebrate Symbionts, University of Utah, USA
  • Postdoctoral study, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Chemistry and Metagenomics of the Human Microbiota, University of California, San Francisco, USA