Lab Members


Mohamed S. Abou Donia

Principal Investigator

Research Interests:  Small-molecule-mediated interactions in complex microbial communities


Postdoctoral Fellows

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Jie Liu

Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio: I had my PhD in Microbiology at Rutgers University in studying the eco-physiology of organohalide respiring bacteria from marine environment. My broad research interests are the interaction of microorganisms with its environments/hosts. In Donia lab, I study the chemical sequestration and kleptoplasty in a complex tripartite marine symbiosis.

Paola Estrada

Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio: I obtained my B.S in Forensic Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I then went to Hunter College where I worked in the Kawamura lab isolating small molecules from soil bacteria. For my PhD I went to the University of Illinois (UIUC) and worked in the Nair lab on the biochemical and structural characterization of enzymes involved small molecule biosynthesis. In the Donia lab I will be investigating small molecules from the human microbiome.
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Moamen Elmassry

Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio: I received my Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Egypt. Then, I obtained my Ph.D. in biology from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. In my dissertation, I focused on Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenesis during sepsis in trauma patients. In Donia lab, I study the contribution of the gut microbiota to the human metabolome (and health). I value collaborative research and teaching. I enjoy reading, humanities talks, Tai Chi, sports, and video games.


Graduate Students


Jared Balaich

Mol Bio Graduate Student
Bio:  I grew up in Colorado and received a B.S. from Brigham Young University in microbial genetics in 2013. In 2015 I received my M.S. degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health after researching a natural product that inhibited the transmission and development of the malaria parasite. In the Donia lab I am interested in researching human microbiota derived small molecules that impact human health. My hobbies include backpacking in the mountains, photography, videogames, playing sports, cheering on the Denver Broncos and losing to my wife in fantasy football every year

Shuo Wang

CBE Graduate Student
Bio:  I received my B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2016 from UC Berkeley, CA. I am interested in applying statistical models and machine learning methods to analyze biological data. In my free time, I enjoy exploring the cities, playing tennis, and playing video games.

Bahar Javdan

Mol Bio Graduate Student
Bio:  I received my BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and did research at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC for a year before matriculating into Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Princeton University’s joint MD-PhD program. In the Donia lab, I am investigating the impact of the gut microbiome on the metabolism of oral drugs, which I hope will pave the way for better individualized therapy. In my free time, I enjoy reading, road trips, and exploring new cuisines.

Jaime Lopez

QCB Graduate Student
Bio:  I received my BSE in chemical engineering from Arizona State University and was an undergraduate researcher at the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology. I'm broadly interested in using mechanistic modeling to better understand the inner workings of microbial communities. Currently, my work focuses on the implications of trade-offs in microbial communities and the interplay between drugs and the human microbiome.
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Jeffrey Lee

Graduate Student
Bio: I was born in Holmdel, NJ and grew up in Plano Texas. I received my Bachelors at Washington University in St. Louis and enrolled in the MPH program specializing in Global Health where I studied undernutrition, helminthic diseases, and community participatory approaches in international settings. I later received an MEng in Energy, Environment, and Chemical Engineering from WashU and worked to develop probiotics that regulate neurotransmitters. In the Donia Lab, I plan to study the bacterial secretome. Outside of lab, I am the co-founder of the graduate think tank club Innovative Approaches in Science, play for the Princeton club field hockey team, enjoy long walks on the beach, and cooking.
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Catherine Day

Graduate Student
Bio: I grew up in northern California and received my B.S. in Biology from the California Institute of Technology. In the Donia lab, I will be studying antibiotic resistance. Outside of research, I enjoy travelling, playing video games and doing puzzles.
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Jongbeom Park

Graduate Student
Bio: I grew up in Daegu, South Korea and received my BA in Biology from Grinnell College. I am broadly interested in evolutionary biology and developmental biology. I currently plan to investigate the role of peptides in mammalian development. My hobbies include indoor rock climbing, driving, and eating.


Undergraduate Students

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Janie Kim

Bio:  I am a native San Diegan and a member of the Class of 2021. In the Donia Lab, I am exploring the regulation of a defensive lipopeptide secreted by an algae-symbiont bacterium. Outside of the lab, I can be found with CONTACT of Mercer County, writing/reading, sculpting, and running in Princeton's forests.

Nisha Chandra

Bio: I grew up in Stamford, CT and am a member of the Class of 2021. In the Donia lab, I am studying antibiotic resistance. Outside of the lab, I play on the club squash team, guide high schoolers through the college application process with Matriculate, and help out at Princeton Medical Center.




Seema Chatterjee

Lab Manager

Anna Schmedel

Faculty Assistant       



Name Current
Amir Erez (Post-doc)  
Dani Peters (Princeton Undergrad '20)  
Francine Camacho (PhD Graduate Student) Viome
Yuki Sugimoto  
Zhiyuan Li Assistant Professor, Peking University
David Romero (Undergrad SURP Intern) Undergrad, California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
Evan Zhao (Visiting Post-doc) Post-doc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lucy Williamson (Princeton Undergrad '19)  
Pranatchareeya Chankhamjon (Post-doc) Scientist, VL55, Flagship Pioneering
Maria Diarey Tianero (Post-doc) Senior Scientist (Program Lead), Lodo Therapeutics
Mohamed Farag (Visiting Associate Professor) Associate Professor, Cairo University
Allison Chang (Princeton Undergrad '18) Masters Student, Computer Science, Princeton University
Diana Chin (Princeton Undergrad '18) Post-bac, Yu lab, Boston Children's Hospital
Anna Posfai (Post-doc) Post-Doc, Kinney lab, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Tanya Tafolla (Summer Undergrad Intern) Grad Student, University of California, Merced
Jindong Zan (Post-doc) Staff Scientist, Becton Dickinson
Arman Odabas (Princeton Undergrad '17) Med Student, Washington University in St. Louis
Audrey Abend (Princeton Undergrad '17) Clinical Research Associate II, OpenBiome
Raphaella Hull (Oxford-Princeton Exchange Student) Grad Student, University of Cambridge
Phoebe Huang (Princeton Undergrad '16) Med Student, University of Rochester
Christian Shema Mugisha (Summer Undergrad Intern) Grad Student, Washington University in St. Louis