Université de Strasbourg

Muna Naash

Muna Naash

Muna NaashMuna Naash is the John S Dunn Endowed Professorship in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Houston (US). She is widely recognised as an authority on genetic mutations associated with hereditary retinal disorders. She has achieved both national and international recognition for her work involving non-viral ocular gene delivery and molecular mechanisms of retinal degeneration.

After earning her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Baghdad, College of Science (Iraq), Muna Naash moved to the United States to do predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago for eight years before joining the teaching staff at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center for fifteen years.  In 2015, Professor Naash moved to the Department of Biomedical Engineering  at the University of Houston.

Professor Naash is recognised as one of the leaders in research into blindness. Over the last several decades, her research has been funded by several grants from the National Eye Institute, the Foundation Fighting Blindness, as well as several pharmaceutical companies and other non-profit funding agencies. She has served on a number of study-section panels for the National Institute of Health and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Her team investigates the mechanism of vision loss in models of retinal diseases and the development of efficient non-viral gene therapy platform for ocular disease. For these studies, Professor Naash developed mouse models of retinal diseases and her team uses state-of-the-art methods to understand how rod and cone outer segments are formed. Her group has pioneered the use of non-viral compacted DNA nanoparticles to deliver large genes that cannot be accommodated by most viral delivery systems. Her investigations thus far have highlighted the great potential of this technology, and shown that such treatments are safe and protect against vision loss in several mouse models of common blinding diseases. Her proof-of-principle studies confirm the potential clinical significance of this technology and are of enormous interest to the two vision research groups at the University of Strasbourg. Dr. Naash was hosted by 2015 USIAS Fellow, Dr. David Hicks (Institute for Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences - INCI) and by Professor Hélène Dollfus (Alsace Medical Genetics Institute - IGMA).

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