Mahdi M. Abu-Omar

Mahdi M. Abu-Omar
Principal Investigator


B.S. summa cum laude Hampden-Sydney College
Ph.D. Iowa State University (with James Espenson)
Postdoc California Institute of Technology (with Harry Gray)


As a professor, Mahdi Abu-Omar directs a research program aimed at developing metal catalysts for renewable energy and environmental applications. He also studies folding dynamics of metalloproteins relating to disease. He is a teacher of graduate and undergraduate inorganic courses as well as general chemistry. Dr. Abu-Omar supervises graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. He has delivered numerous lectures and seminars (60 plus) describing his research group findings, acted as reviewer for numerous journals and several funding agencies, organized four symposia on catalysis and energy, and consulted for several chemical companies and law firms. Dr. Abu-Omar is the author or coauthor of 70 original research papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has delivered lectures on future U.S. energy supplies to energy directors and corporate executives, as well as public lectures on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Islam. Prior to joining Purdue University in 2003, Dr. Abu-Omar spent one year as a National Institute of Health postdoctoral scholar in bioinorganic chemistry at California Institute of Technology before moving to the University of California, Los Angeles, as an Assistant Professor. There he launched his independent research career in transition-metal catalysis and ‘green’ chemistry. Dr. Abu-Omar has 10 years of experience in research and management. He mentored 20 Ph.D. students, 7 postdoctoral research associates, and 10 undergraduate students. In addition, he is a member of the executive advisory board of the Energy Center at Purdue University. Dr. Abu-Omar is the recipient of several awards including the College of Engineering Team Excellence Award from Purdue University, a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation, and a Beckman Young Investigator Award from the Beckman Foundation. In 2008, Dr. Abu-Omar was named University Faculty Scholar by Purdue University. Born in Jerusalem, Dr. Abu-Omar received his elementary and secondary education in Israel and the United Kingdom. In the fall of 1988, Dr. Abu-Omar arrived in the U.S. to pursue higher education. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree (summa cum laude) in chemistry from Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia, and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Iowa State University.