Most Interesting People 2013: Mahmoud Ghannoum

Mahmoud Ghannoum

medical researcher, 62

Family matters Ghannoum worked on developing Halo with a team of researchers and his 32-year-old son, Afif, who is responsible for marketing the product. "He's an entrepreneurial guy. I never thought I would be working with my son, but it is one of the greatest pleasures."

Playing defense Halo, which gets applied to the back of your mouth like breath spray, forms a barrier to trap and kill germs before they get a chance to enter and infect the body. "There are actually a lot of drugs that will kill germs instantly. But Halo keeps killing germs you breathe in for hours and hours with a single dose."

On jet-setting Outside the lab, Ghannoum spends his time presenting his findings around the world, including places such as Japan, his favorite destination. "What I like about it there is that when you sit down to eat, it's an art, it's not just eating."

The name game Ghannoum went through a number of names such as Oral Armor and Germ Defense before settling on Halo. "We thought of the idea that the barrier covers you and realized we wanted to give the impression that you are in a halo, you are protected."

Childhood aspirations He wanted to be a pilot or a sea captain. "But, with Halo, I like to think I can help protect the pilots and sea captains out there from airborne germs."

Higher education While Ghannoum has spent days in the front of classrooms at University of Kuwait and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, he began his life in infectious diseases as a student at Loughborough University of Technology in England. "Part of my summer project was to look at new compounds to see whether they had antimicrobial activity. I wanted to see why the organism can cause disease."

Share this story: