P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Mohamad Abedi, 2015

PhD, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Mohamad Abedi is an immigrant from United Arab Emirates

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Bioengineering at California Institute of Technology (Caltech)


Mohamad was born to Palestinian refugees in the United Arab Emirates. His family was under the constant threat of deportation back to the refugee camp in Lebanon where they had come from. His parents, lacking strong educations themselves, could not help Mohamad with his school work, but always served as his role models and inspiration.

Growing up, Mohamad spent his summers visiting family in the Beddawi refugee camp in Lebanon, where resources for healthcare were inadequate. He watched family members struggle with ailments that should have been easily curable, but instead persisted and grew worse. This experience motivated Mohamad to pursue an education in bioengineering, however he felt limited by the range of education options available to him. A world of education options opened up to him when, his senior year, after a ten year waiting process, his family's application to the United States was approved. Mohamad was able to pursue a degree in bioengineering at UC Irvine where President Obama distinguished him during a commencement address as someone who knows, "what it means to dream".

At UC Irvine, he worked on building diagnostic devices for rural areas by designing computers that run on air instead of electricity. Later, he investigated the robustness of bacterial genetic circuits with respect to noise. Recently, Mohamad received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, recognizing him as one of the future leaders in his field.

Mohamad is now pursuing a PhD in bioengineering at Caltech. The long-term goal of his scientific career is to develop tools for non-invasive modulation of brain circuitry, which would allow scientists to understand and treat neurological and psychiatric diseases that involve the dysfunction of local neural circuits. 

  • BS Biomedical Engineering | University of California, Irvine 2014
  • PhD Bioengineering | California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • National Science Foundation GRFP (2014)
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