- Professor, Immunobiology
- Professor, BIO5 Institute
Dr. Nafees Ahmad received his B. S.(Hons) and M. S. in Biochemistry & Microbiology from one of the prestigious central universities in India, The Aligarh Muslim University. He then joined another renowned research institute, The Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India, from where he earned his Ph.D. in 1983. Dr. Ahmad did his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA from 1985-1990 in the Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His research primarily focused on the regulation of HIV-1 gene expression and replication, especially the role of HIV-1 regulatory and accessory proteins in HIV-1 replication and biology. In 1990, a group of scientists from the NIH, including Dr. Ahmad moved to J.N. Gamble Institute of Medical Research, Cincinnati, Ohio to start a new program on Molecular Virology, including his own independent research program on molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 mother-to-infant transmission. In 1994, Dr. Ahmad joined the University of Arizona College of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology (now Immunobiology). His research involves understanding the molecular mechanisms of differential HIV infection in infants and adults and vertical transmission and HIV infection in aging and older infected patients. In addition, he directs the Immunity and Infection block of the medical curriculum (M.D. program) of the College of Medicine. He is also the Director of Microbiology and Immunity Graduate Certificate Program and Director of Applied Biosciences Professional Masters Graduate Interdisciplinary Program - Medical Microbiology and Immunology Track. He teaches medical virology to M.D. students and molecular virology to M.S. and Ph.D. students. He mentors postdoctoral and medical fellows and graduate, medical and undergraduate students for research in his laboratory. His services include serving on various university, college, and departmental committees, grant review committees, editorial boards of scientific journals and other international, national and local agencies.
- Ph.D. Microbiology & Immunology
- Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India
- M.Phil. Microbiology & Immunology
- Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India
- M.S. Biochemistry and Microbiology
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India
- B.S. Biology and Chemistry
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India
- Director, Immunity and Infection Block, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (2007 - Ongoing)
- Professor with Tenure, Immunobiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona (2002 - Ongoing)
- Associate Professor with Tenure, Immunobiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona (1998 - 2002)
- Assistant Professor tenure eligible, Microbiology & Immunobiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona (1994 - 1998)
- Assistant Member, Molecular Virology, JN Gamble Institute of Medical Research (1990 - 1994)
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Associate, National Institutes of Health (1985 - 1990)
- Lifetime Achievement Educator of the Year Award for Medical Education - Annual Recognition
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2017
- Academy of Medical Education Scholars (AMES)
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Spring 2017
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Spring 2012
- Member, Academy of Medical Education Scholars (AMES)
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2012
- Outstanding Teacher in a Block
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2012
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2011
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2009
- Dean’s List for Excellence in Teaching
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2010
- Vernon and Virginia Furrow Award for Excellence in Basic Sciences Teaching for Medical Students
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2007
- Dean's List for Excellence in Teaching in the Basic Sciences
- College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Fall 2002
1. Viral, Immunological and Clinical Factors in HIV-1 Aging Patients: We are investigating the role of HIV infection in influencing the aging process of the immune system (immunosenescence) in older patients. We are elucidating the molecular properties of HIV in older infected patients whose viral load is suppressed by anti-retroviral drugs. These studies may provide new information to develop strategies for prevention and treatment of HIV infection in older infected patients, including improving the aging of the immune system in older population. 2. Mechanisms of HIV-1 replication in neonatal (immatur cord blood) and adult (mature) hosts T lymphocytes (naive and memory) and monocytes/macrophages, Cellular gene expression profile of cord and adult blood mononuclear cells, T-lymphocytes, macrophages by Microarray analysis, Use of siRNA/shRNA to interfere with cellular factor that influence HIV replication, Interaction of cellular factors from cord and adult cells with HIV LTR, HIV-1 infection and T-cell development, 3. Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of pediatric AIDS, Molecular and biological properties of HIV-1 in infected infants over time associated with pathogenesis and disease progression, Clinical parameters, including CD4 counts and viral load in HIV-1 infected infants during the course of infection and disease progression 4. Molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 mother-infant transmission, Genotypic and phenotypic characterization, cell tropism, viral determinants associated with vertical transmission. 5. Biological activity of anti-HIV agents, Effects of antivirals on HIV-1 replication in primary target cells. 6. Molecular biology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Functional role of HIV-1 regulatory proteins in viral replication.
I have been actively involved in teaching medical, graduate and undergraduate students for 22 years at the College of Medicine, University of Arizona. I taught Medical Microbiology and Immunology (Medical Virology) to second year medical students in the old traditional curriculum from 1994-2006. I served as as the Course Director of Medical Microbiology and Immunology Course. I was successful in revamping and running a solid Medical Microbiology course for the second year medical students. The success of this course was assessed by students’ performance at the step I USMLE exam, where the scores for Microbiology and Immunology were above national average and ranked very high in the College. In 2006, our College decided to move from the classical courses to block/organ based education system. I was part of the integration and reward teams and was appointed the designer and later Block Director of the Immunity and Infection block. Currently, I serve as the Director of the Immunity and Infection block that is offered to 2nd year medical students in the fall semester. I also teach the Medical Virology section of the block. In addition, I teach Clinical Reasoning Course (Case-based instruction) in several other blocks, including Musculoskeletal System, Cardiovascular, Pulmonary and Renal Systems, Digestive, Metabolism and Hormones. I was recognized by the medical students and faculty for my teaching and received teaching awards in 1999, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Finally in 2013, I was given the Life Time Achievement Educator of the Year Award for Medical Education. I have served as a member of the College of Medicine Curriculum committee for five years, which involved policy-making and implementations of LCME guidelines to the medical curriculum. I also serve on various education committees at the College and Departmental levels. In addition to medical education, I am also involved in graduate and undergraduate education by teaching Molecular Virology, Medical Microbiology and Immunology and HIV/AIDS virology and immunology throughout the campus. I have trained more than a dozen Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows and medical students for research. I have mentored and supervised more than 40 undergraduate students doing research in my lab, most of them have gone to medical and graduate schools. I have co-authored a Medical Microbiology textbook “Sherris Medical Microbiology, 5th Edition (2010) and 6th Edition (2014) (Editor: Ryan, K and Ray, C.G) McGraw Hill Publication. In 2016, our college decided to shorten the 2-year basic science medical curriculum to an 18-month basic science curriculum. I was part of the Pre-Clinical Subcommittee that developed an 18-month curriculum starting 2017-2018 academic year. We are in the process of developing new innovative methods of teaching.
Directed ResearchBME 492 (Spring 2018)
Honors Independent StudyMCB 399H (Spring 2018)
Internship in Applied BiosciABS 593A (Spring 2018)
Medical Micro+ImmunologyIMB 501 (Spring 2018)
Directed ResearchBME 492 (Fall 2017)
Honors Independent StudyMCB 399H (Fall 2017)
Immunity and InfectionMED 807 (Fall 2017)
Independent StudyIMB 899 (Fall 2017)
Med Immunology/Infect DiseaseCMM 605 (Fall 2017)
Med Immunology/Infect DiseaseIMB 605 (Fall 2017)
Honors Independent StudyMCB 399H (Spring 2017)
Medical Micro+ImmunologyIMB 501 (Spring 2017)
Honors Independent StudyMCB 299H (Fall 2016)
Immunity and InfectionMED 807 (Fall 2016)
Med Immunology/Infect DiseaseCMM 605 (Fall 2016)
Med Immunology/Infect DiseaseIMB 605 (Fall 2016)
- Ahmad, N. (2018). Respiratory Viruses. Sherris Medical Microbiology, 7h Edition, McGraw-Hill.
- Ahmad, N. (2017). HIV infection and bone abnormalities. The Open Orthopaedics Journal, 11, 777-784.
- Ahmad, N. (2015). Influence of HIV variability on transmission and pathogenesis. J Virology and Antiviral Research, 4(1). doi:doi:10.4172/2324-8955.1000136More infoHIV-1 exists as a genetically heterogeneous population within infected individuals and in infected population. Genetic variability or viral heterogeneity plays an important role in transmission, pathogenesis, immune response, disease progression and therapy as well as is the most effective way for the virus to evade the host immune response and persists in infected individuals. We have used HIV-1 infected motherinfant pairs as a transmitter-recipient model to elucidate the role of the molecular and biological properties of HIV-1 associated with transmission and pathogenesis. HIV-1 sequences derived from infected mothers were more heterogeneous than their younger infected infants’ HIV-1 sequences. However, the infants’ HIV-1 sequences diversified as they grew older. HIV-1 infants’ sequences were different from each other but similar or closer to their mother’s sequences. We found that the minor genotypes of HIV-1 found in mothers were transmitted to their infants, which was initially maintained as a homogeneous population in infants and diversified as the infants grew older. In addition, the phenotype of these minor geno types was macrophage-tropic, nonsyncytium inducing (NSI) referred as R5 HIV-1. We also analyzed several other regions of HIV-1 genome, including env, gag p17 and NC, pol RT, tat, rev, vif, vpr, vpu and nef infected mother-infant pairs and found that there was a high functional conservation of these genes. These findings suggested that HIV-1 heterogenity plays an important role in vertical transmission and pathogenesis. The properties of transmitted viruses and those that are associated with disease progression should be targeted for the development of new strategies for prevention and treatment of HIV-1 infection. Research should focus utilizing these findings in the development of better strategies for prevention and treatment of HIV-1.
- Ahmad, N. (2016). Features of maternal HIV associated with lack of vertical transmission. The Open Virology Journal.
- Badowski, M., Shultz, C. L., Eason, Y., Ahmad, N., & Harris, D. T. (2014). The influence of intrinsic and extrinsic factors on immune system aging. Immunobiology, 219(6), 482-5.More infoSex and age-matched wild-type and TCR transgenic mice were infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) at 6 months of age and followed for 12 additional months to examine aging of the immune system. It was found that viral infection of C57Bl/6 mice resulted in accelerated aging of the immune system as shown by a loss of CD8(+)28(+) cells and an accumulation of KLRG1(+) T cells. CMV infection of OT-1 transgenic mice had no influence on immune aging of these mice which nonetheless demonstrated an accumulation of CD8(+)28(-) and KLRG1(+) T cells with time. CD4(+) T cells were unaffected in either strain of mice. Thus, immunological aging was found to be due to both cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic factors. Persistent viral infections may accelerate immunological aging but consideration must be given to individual variation in the aging process.
- Bashyal, B. P., Wellensiek, B. P., Ramakrishnan, R., Faeth, S. H., Ahmad, N., & Gunatilaka, A. A. (2014). Altertoxins with potent anti-HIV activity from Alternaria tenuissima QUE1Se, a fungal endophyte of Quercus emoryi. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 22(21), 6112-6.More infoScreening of a small library of natural product extracts derived from endophytic fungi of the Sonoran desert plants in a cell-based anti-HIV assay involving T-cells infected with the HIV-1 virus identified the EtOAc extract of a fermentation broth of Alternaria tenuissima QUE1Se inhabiting the stem tissue of Quercus emoryi as a promising candidate for further investigation. Bioactivity-guided fractionation of this extract led to the isolation and identification of two new metabolites, altertoxins V (1) and VI (2) together with the known compounds, altertoxins I (3), II (4), and III (5). The structures of 1 and 2 were determined by detailed spectroscopic analysis and those of 3-5 were established by comparison with reported data. When tested in our cell-based assay at concentrations insignificantly toxic to T-cells, altertoxins V (1), I (3), II (4), and III (5) completely inhibited replication of the HIV-1 virus at concentrations of 0.50, 2.20, 0.30, and 1.50 μM, respectively. Our findings suggest that the epoxyperylene structural scaffold in altertoxins may be manipulated to produce potent anti-HIV therapeutics.
- Wellensiek, B. P., Ramakrishnan, R., Bashyal, B. P., Eason, Y., Gunatilaka, A. A., & Ahmad, N. (2013). Inhibition of HIV-1 Replication by Secondary Metabolites From Endophytic Fungi of Desert Plants. The open virology journal, 7, 72-80.More infoMost antiretroviral drugs currently in use to treat an HIV-1 infection are chemically synthesized and lead to the development of viral resistance, as well as cause severe toxicities. However, a largely unexplored source for HIV-1 drug discovery is endophytic fungi that live in a symbiotic relationship with plants. These fungi produce biologically active secondary metabolites, which are natural products that are beneficial to the host. We prepared several hundred extracts from endophytic fungi of desert plants and evaluated the inhibitory effects on HIV-1 replication of those extracts that showed less than 30% cytotoxicity in T-lymphocytes. Those extracts that inhibited viral replication were fractionated in order to isolate the compounds responsible for activity. Multiple rounds of fractionation and antiviral evaluation lead to the identification of four compounds, which almost completely impede HIV-1 replication. These studies demonstrate that metabolites from endophytic fungi of desert plants can serve as a viable source for identifying potent inhibitors of HIV-1 replication.
- Ahmad, N. (2016, February/2016). Pathogenesis of Ebola Virus Infection. Workshop on Development for Ebola Virus and Other Emerging Diseases. Tucson, AZ.More infoWorkshop on Development for Ebola Virus and Other Emerging Diseases Invited talk on Pathogenesis of Ebola Virus Infection at the "Workshop on Development for Ebola Virus and Other Emerging Diseases" held in Tucson, AZ from February 10-13, 2016.
- Ahmad, N. (2017, March 3, 2017). Viral and immunological features associated with aging in HIV infected older patients.. Presented at the 12th Immunobiology and Pathogenesis Symposium. University of Arizona: Department of Immunobiology.
- Ahmad, N. (2017, March 9, 2017). Viral and immunological features associated with aging in HIV infected older patients.. Annual ABRC conference. Phoenix: Arizona Biomedical Reserach Commission.
- Ahmad, N. (2016, March/2016). HIV and Aging: Viral and Immunological Features Associated with Aging in HIV-Infected Older Patients. Immunobiology and Immunopathogenesis Symposium. Tucson, AZ.More infoImmunobiology and Immunopathogenesis Symposium Poster presentation on "HIV and Aging: Viral and Immunological Features Associated with Aging in HIV-Infected Older Patients" by Nicole Behrens, Michael Grisham, Anne Wertheimer, Stephen Klotz*, Janko Nikolich-Zugich and Nafees Ahmad at the Immunobiology and Immunopathogenesis Sympsoium held on March 4, 2016.
- Behrens, N., Grisham, M., Wertheimer, A., Klotz, S., Nikolich-Zugich, J., & Ahmad, N. (2016, February/2016). HIV and Aging: Viral and Immunological Features Associated with Aging in HIV-Infected Older Patients. Annual Arizona Biomedical Research Commission Conference. Phoenix, AZ.