Hadi Fares is a NASA Postdoctoral Program research fellow working in the laboratory of Prof. Christine Keating in the Department of Chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biochemistry at the Lebanese University in Lebanon. His master’s thesis project, a collaboration with the American University of Beirut, focused on bioactive molecules and their effects on breast cancer cells.
He moved to the United States in 2013 where he started his PhD studies in chemistry at the Florida State University. There, in the laboratory of Prof. Joseph Schlenoff, his research focused on the properties of polyelectrolyte complexes – versatile polymeric materials that have gained popularity for their potential applications as medical coatings and filtration membranes. In their liquid form, polyelectrolyte complexes are also models of biological systems that are essential to the function of the cell. Hadi studied the effects of the polymer chain’s movement and shape on the appearance and functionality of the material as a whole.
Through an interdisciplinary investigation combining the fields of materials polymer chemistry and astrobiology, Hadi’s current goal is to understand how models of early cells might be affected by environments similar to ones on a young planet. He is also interested in demystifying the scientific knowledge to the general public. In 2015, he won 1st place in a science communication competition, Chemistry Champions, organized by the American Chemical Society. He was also selected to present his research at the 2018 Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Symposium at the ACS national meeting.”