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The Jewish American and Palestinian American scientists who’ve been partnering for 14 years on science’s toughest challenges

WATERTOWN — Their brainstorming began in an MIT class in 2010 when the eager undergrads shot each other emails about how to solve a bioengineering equation. It has continued for 14 years over sushi dinners, between Marvel movies, and during rowing-machine workouts.

Together, Omar Abudayyeh, 33, and Jonathan Gootenberg, 32, have probed the mysteries of genomic editing and COVID detection. They co-published 10 scientific papers, helped launch two medical-diagnostic companies, and cofounded a Watertown startup, Tome Biosciences, that reengineers genes and cells to cure diseases. They also run the Abudayyeh-Gootenberg Lab at Harvard.


Gootenberg and Abudayyeh are an unusual pair, two scientists — a Jewish American and a Palestinian American — who prefer working together in a field that often draws solitary researchers and rewards individual achievement.

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