Shahid M. Mukhtar

Assistant Professor, Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics


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(205) 934-8335
Campbell Hall 369, 1300 University Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35294-1170

PhD (Genetics), 2005, Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany

Research Interests:

Genomics and Bioinformatics are rapidly evolving disciplines of Biology generating an unprecedented amount of information about gene function and organization of the cell. My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions using genomics and systems level approaches. I am broadly interested in interdisciplinary research projects at the interface of genomics/systems biology of plant and human immunity using wet lab and computational approaches. Specifically, I aim to understand how macromolecular immune networks are organized in the cells and how these networks can be perturbed to cause diseases. To answer these questions, I work with two experimental systems: the model dicot plant Arabidopsis thaliana and human autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

My main interest is the computational modeling of gene regulatory networks, discovery of novel cis-regulatory motifs involved in plant and human immunity, in silico isolation of functional modules comprising transcription factors and cohorts of co-regulated genes, as well as providing empirical and experimental proofs of my computational/mathematical data in vivo. Moreover, I am also interested in generating large-scale immune interactome maps and understanding how pathogens perturb communications among key functional modules. The main projects that we are currently investigating are:
  1. Systems level approaches to generate host-pathogens protein-protein interaction networks using proteins from Arabidopsis as well as from diverse viral, bacterial, and oomycete pathogens.
  2. Generation of a large-scale Arabidopsis immune transcriptional regulatory network.
  3. Discovering the novel regulatory mechanisms of human Fc receptors in autoimmune diseases.
To achieve the above listed goals, I employ diverse cutting-edge technologies including high-throughput sequencing, transcriptomics, protein-protein interactions, degradomics, forward and reverse genetics, and bioinformatics. My work allows a global understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in disease resistance and unraveling novel disease resistance signaling pathways to diverse pathogens.

For more information about research, teaching and publications, please visit the Shahid Mukhtar Lab Website.