Amna A. Abdullah

MSc Student (graduated 2023/05)


Seven years ago, Amna Abdullah started her academic journey as a recipient of the KAUST Gifted Student Program (KGSP) scholarship, which allowed her to peruse her undergraduate studies at the George Washington University (GW), the United States, in which she graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering with a minor in electrical engineering. Amna leveraged her time in the US to undergo different research experiences and learning opportunities. The summer of her freshman year, she joined the evolutionary biology department as a research assistant to investigate the effect of floral traits and resources on bee-pathogen dynamics. The summer after that, Amna had the opportunity of working at the Institute for Nanobiotechnology at Johns Hopkins University to study the effect of YAP/TAZ synthesis on regulating cell volume. At KAUST, and prior to joining the SSB group, she was working at the vibrational imaging lab on investigating the lipid profile of cancer stem cells to assess the feasibility of using lipid droplets as a biomarker for detection and targeting.

Research Interests

Currently at KAUST, Amna’s interests lay at the intersection of biotechnology, biomedical applications, and entrepreneurship. Under the supervision of Professor Kyle Lauersen, Amna is working on her Master’s thesis project focusing on identifying chloroplastic transformants with high expression of recombinant anti-freeze protein (AFP), AFP purification from photoautotrophically grown cultures, and the effect of local weather on AFP expression for industrial scale production.

Selected Publications

The MSc thesis on the KAUST repository can be found here.


  • M.Sc. Bioengineering, KAUST, 2021-2023
  • B.Sc. Biomedical Engineering with a Minor in Electrical Engineering, The George Washington University, 2019-2021


  • KAUST Fellowship, KAUST, 2022-2023
  • Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellowship, Johns Hokins Univeristy, 2018
  • The Chancellor’s Award for Acadmeic Excellence, Univeristy of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2016-2018
  • KGSP Scholarship, KAUST, 2015

KAUST Affiliations

Sustainable & Synthetic Biotechnology Group

Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering

Research Interests Keywords

Algal Biotechnology Genetic Engineering Synthetic Biology Biomedical Applications