Mushtaq Ahmed, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Mushtaq Ahmed, PhD received his PhD in Biotechnology from the School of Biotechnology, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India, where he identified and characterized novel abiotic stress-induced genes. He carried out postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Marcia Blackman at the Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, NY during which he published several key findings in the field of immunobiology in relation to understanding the role of T cells using mouse-models of viral infections such as g-herpes and influenza. Later joining the laboratory of Dr. Sarah Gaffen, Division of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, University of Pittsburgh, he established the inhibitory effects of IL-17 on adipogenesis and proposed a novel role for IL-17 in obesity, while also deciphering various aspects of IL-17 receptor signaling pathways. Currently, his interests are targeted towards developing novel vaccines against Mtb in the laboratory of Dr. Shabaana Khader, Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University in St.Louis. Collaborating with BlueWillow Biologics, Dr. Ahmed has demonstrated that nanoemulsion (NE)-based adjuvants when delivered intranasally along with Mtb (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) specific immunodominant antigens (NE-TB vaccine) confer significant protection against Mtb infection, and when delivered along with BCG, is associated with decreased disease severity. The rational design of current vaccines or treatments in clinical trials is not based on identification of clear protective TB biomarkers and therefore he is also delineating the immune parameters that govern Mtb control. His work has shown that transcriptomic profiles and pathways in mouse and NHP models of TB, closely mimic the human TB progressor signature during active TB. He is focusing on further evaluating the protective correlates that will enhance the development of targeted antimicrobial interventions before clinical disease manifests.

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