Dr. Abu-Omar completed his Ph.D. from Iowa State University and postdoc from Caltech with Harry Gray. He is the associate director of the Center for Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio), an Energy Frontiers Research Center funded by the Department of Energy. Mahdi is the Founder and President of Spero Energy, Inc., a green specialty chemicals company and a technology provider for the manufacture of high value renewable chemicals from biomass.
He is a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 2012 and was a Senior Fulbright Fellow (2008). His recognitions include the Crano Memorial Lectureship from ACS Akron Section (2013), JPP Young Investigator Award from the Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanins (2010), Beckman Young Investigator Award (1999), and NSF CAREER Award (1998). He chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms in 2013.