Investigator Profile: Abdelfattah El Ouaamari
HIRN New Investigator Award Recipient
►Where are you from originally, and where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Nador, a small town in the northeast region of Morocco, well known for its beautiful beaches. After high school, I attended the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in France where I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, Master’s in Life and Health Sciences and Ph.D. in Aspects of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
►What is your current position?
I am an Assistant Professor in Medicine at Rutgers University. My lab is located at the Child Health Institute of New Jersey.
►Why did you decide to become a researcher?
Life sciences piqued my interest when I was in high school. However, it was until the end of my college years that I realized I was drawn to problem-solving processes and the excitement surrounding exploration and discovery in biology. I feel lucky and grateful I met, in my path, great teachers and mentors who guided/shaped me to pursue a research career.
►What is the “Big Picture” of what you study?
My lab is interested in the role of organ crosstalks in health and disease. We are currently looking at how peripheral neurons interact and control the activity and growth of insulin-producing β cells. The long-term goal of our research is to identify neuropharmacological and/or neuromodulation-based strategies to enhance activity and mass of pancreatic β cells in patients with diabetes.
►What is your favorite aspect of your research?
Our multidisciplinary approach! We interact regularly with islet-cell biologists, endocrinologists, neuroscientists and virologists.
► What do you hope to achieve with your research?
We hope to identify new information that can be leveraged to design new neural-based therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
► What groups are you involved with?
PENN Diabetes/Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
►When not in the lab what are your favorite hobbies/activities?
I practice golfing and fencing when I have time. Also – I love watching K-drama!