Mohamad Ali Najia bio photo

Mohamad Ali Najia

I am a bioengineer passionate about creating molecular technologies to understand biology, and ultimately, to improve human health. My research centers on understanding how stem cells make cell fate decisions in order to generate specific immune cells in a culture dish for potential adoptive cell therapies. I earned a PhD from the Health Sciences & Technology program at MIT under the mentorship of George Daley and Paul Blainey. Outside the lab, I enjoy sailing on the Charles River, hiking, baking, woodworking, and gardening.

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Curriculum Vitae


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (2015-2022)
    Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology
    PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics
    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
    Thesis Committee: George Daley, Paul Blainey, George Church, Jim Collins

  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA (2010-2014)
    B.S. Biomedical Engineering
    Georgia Tech Honors Program
    GPA: 3.93 / 4.00

Research Experience

  • Research Fellow, Boston Children’s Hospital/Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, Boston, MA (Jan 2022 – Present)
    PIs: George Q. Daley, MD, PhD and Paul C. Blainey, PhD
    Read more about my research here.

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (Sept 2015 – Nov 2022)
    PIs: George Q. Daley, MD, PhD and Paul C. Blainey, PhD
    Read more about my research here.

  • Amgen Scholars Program, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA (May – Aug 2014)
    PI: Michael Eisen, PhD; Mentor: Steven Kuntz, PhD
    Project: temperature-dependent embryogenesis of wild strains of Drosophila melanogaster

  • Bioinformatics & Integrative Genomics Summer Program, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology, Boston, MA (May – Aug 2013)
    PI: Alexander Gimelbrant, PhD; Mentor: Virginia Savova, PhD
    Project: discovered that monoallelically expressed autosomal genes exhibit allele-specific methylation bias

  • Petit Undergraduate Research Scholar, Engineering Stem Cell Technologies Lab, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA (Nov 2010 – Dec 2014)
    PI: Todd McDevitt, PhD; Mentor: Jenna Wilson, PhD
    Project: alginate encapsulation of embryonic stem cells to guide differentiation and trophic factor secretion

  • Research Intern, Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, Boston, MA (Jun – Aug 2010)
    PI: Julian Goldman, MD
    Project: worked on the Medical Device Plug-and-Play (MD PnP) project to pair a ventilator with imaging modalities, and synchronize the contraction of a patient’s diaphragm with the capture of x-ray images

Professional Experience

  • President, GapSummit 2019, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA (July 2017 – Sept 2019)
    • Led an international team of 60+ people to organize an intergenerational biotech summit at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard from June 16-20, 2019 focused on discussing pressing challenges facing the global biotech community, and to catalyze innovation to address these challenges
    • Raised $160,000 from corporate sponsors to fund the conference and provided $15,000 in travel awards for students to attend the conference
    • Recruited 66 international leaders in the biotech community as speakers, including Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine and Dr. Penny Heaton, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute
    • Chair of the scientific program committee charged with formulating core programmatic themes, discussion topics, panels, and the bio-innovation competition

  • Sandbox Fellow, MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund, Cambridge, MA (Sept 2016 – Sept 2018)
    • Provided entrepreneurial advisement to 10 teams of MIT students by critiquing written and oral communication of the proposed idea, directing students to appropriate resources in the Boston area to further their commercialization pursuits, and providing technical advising on product development
    • Reviewed proposals for funding from the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund based on innovativeness, technical feasibility, market need and commercialization potential

  • Editor-in-Chief, The Tower Undergraduate Research Journal, Atlanta, GA (Apr 2013 – Dec 2014)
    • Oversaw all editorial, business, and logistical operations of the journal with a team of 50 talented students, professors and professional staff
    • Modernized and implemented an open-access electronic publishing framework
    • Initiated and fostered an article exchange program with the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal

Teaching Experience

  • Teaching Assistant, CS1371, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA (Jun 2012 – Dec 2014)
    Taught a weekly recitation class, held weekly office hours and graded problem sets for an introductory computer science course for engineers covering algorithms, data structures, applications, data processing, and computing theory
Semester Students Teaching Effectiveness (Interpolated Median)
Summer 2012 50 4.78 / 5.00
Fall 2012 49 4.90 / 5.00
Spring 2013 51 4.98 / 5.00
Fall 2013 48 4.88 / 5.00
Spring 2014 32 4.90 / 5.00
Fall 2014 45 4.90 / 5.00


  • Graduate Mentor, Harvard Amgen Scholars Program (Summers 2016, 2017)
    Mentored and supported two undergraduate scientists throughout the summer, helping them navigate questions about research, graduate school, and career planning

  • MIT Science Policy Initiative (Jan 2016 – Sept 2018)
    Organized and lead meetings with US Congressional Representatives & Senators to articulate the importance of long-term, sustainable federal investments in basic science research

Honors & Awards

  • Top Poster Award, NHLBI Progenitor Cell Research and Translation Meeting (March 2023)
  • Second Place, Merck Innovation Cup (July 2022)
  • ISSCR Abstract Merit Award (June 2022)
  • Keystone Symposia Scholarship (December 2021)
  • Synthego Genome Engineer Innovation Grant Winner (April 2019)
  • First Place, MIT Global Startup Workshop Business Plan Competition (March 2018)
  • NIH Single Cell Analysis Program, “Follow That Cell” Challenge Winner (June 2017)
  • Second Place, Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge (May 2017)
  • IMES Award, IDEA2 Global Final Pitch Competition (January 2017)
  • Second Place, MIT Convergence Idea Challenge (June 2016)
  • Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship Honorable Mention (April 2016)
  • NSF Fellowship, 14th International Summer School on Biocomplexity (June 2015)
  • Second Place, InVenture Prize (April 2015)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (March 2015)
  • Georgia Tech College of Engineering Undergraduate Research Award (March 2015)
  • Best Overall Design Project, Georgia Tech Capstone Expo (December 2014)
  • TEDMED Frontline Scholarship (September 2014)
  • Amgen Scholar, University of California Berkeley (Summer 2014)
  • Invited Speaker, 5th US-Turkey Advanced Study Institute on Global Healthcare (June 2014)
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (April 2014)
  • NSF Fellowship, 12th International Summer School on Biocomplexity (June 2013)
  • Petit Undergraduate Research Scholarship (2012)
  • President’s Undergraduate Research Award (2011, 2012)
  • Brooks Automation Scholarship (2010, 2011)