• Mushtaq Ahmad, Ph.D.

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  • Mushtaq Ahmad, Ph.D.
      Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Research Institute & Department of Physiology

    Contact Information
    Phone: (404) 752-1821
    Fax: (404) 752-1042
    Ph.D., Vrije University, Brussels, Molecular Biology
    M.Sc., Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan, Biochemistry
    B.Sc.,  Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan, Chemistry, Physics, Math

    Research Interests
    Dr. Ahmad’ research interest involves delineating the molecular mechanisms responsible for the regulation of endothelium-mediated vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. To this end, he is characterizing vasculoprotective and proinflammatory signaling pathways in vascular endothelial cells.

    He has identified isoprenylcysteine carboxylmethyltransferase (ICMT) as an important regulator of inflammatory responses in endothelial cells. The focus of this project is to study the mechanism by which ICMT regulates TNF-stimulation of inflammatory responses in endothelial cells. ICMT methylates CAAX proteins including small GTPases and the gamma subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins. Methylation is important for membrane targeting of CAAX proteins and for protein-protein interactions. One of the goals of his project is to identify the targets of ICMT in endothelial cells that promote vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. He has generated probes such as siRNA, antisense, and ribozymes to study the role of ICMT in vascular diseases. ICMT deficiency is embryonic lethal at day 11.5. He is using foxed ICMT mice to study ICMT role in atherosclerosis.

    To study the vasculoprotective pathways in endothelial cells he is using fish oil omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be anti-inflammatory. He has identified certain vasculoprotective molecules that are induced by these fatty acids in endothelial cells. Now he is studying the mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids activate the vasculoprotective pathways. He is also using n-3 desaturase transgenic mice that converts omega-6 into omega-3 fatty acids to study the role of these fatty acids in atherosclerosis.

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