University of Alabama at Birmingham
VH 509
1720 2ND AVE S
BIRMINGHAM AL 35294-0009

Office: (205) 934-5190  

Faculty Appointment:   Assistant Professor of Dermatology
Associate Scientist, Cancer Chemoprevention Program, CCC
B.S.   Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India,
Chemistry, 1989
M.S.   Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India,
Biochemistry, 1991
M.Phil.   Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India,
Biochemistry, 1995
PhD.   Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India,
Biochemistry, 1998

Research Interests


Dr. Afaq’s research interests are to identify critical cellular and molecular targets in skin photocarcinogenesis, photoaging and other hyperproliferative and inflammatory skin diseases. He has devoted a greater part of his efforts in understanding how commonly consumed dietary ingredients can be exploited for the prevention and treatment of skin cancers (i.e. non-melanoma and melanoma). His studies have shown that anthocyanidins- and hydrolyzable tannins-rich pomegranate fruit extract possess strong anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor promoting properties in mouse models of photocarcinogenesis, and he is currently studying the molecular mechanism(s) of these inhibitory effects. Recently, he has found that fisetin (3,7,3′,4′-tetrahydroxyflavone), a naturally occurring flavonoid, has anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-invasive effects on melanoma cells by targeting PI3K/AKT/mTOR and BRAF-MEK-ERK signaling pathways, which are activated in melanoma and are associated with poor prognosis. His research also focuses on the combinatorial approach for the prevention/treatment of melanoma. He is investigating the effects of fisetin in combination with sorafenib on cell proliferation, invasion and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions in melanoma cell lines with different genetic backgrounds, tissue-engineered three dimensional skin equivalents and mouse models. In addition, he is investigating the effect of delphinidin and abundant fruits and vegetables based anthocyanidin on markers of epidermal differentiation, proliferation and inflammation by employing in vitro three dimensional models of reconstituted normal and psoriatic human skin, and an in vivo mouse model of psoriasis.

Another area of his research interest is the prevention/treatment of lung cancer. He has found that delphinidin is an effective inhibitor of EGFR and VEGFR-2 in non-small-cell lung cancer cells. He is now investigating the effect of delphinidin on cell proliferation, invasion and apoptosis by the simultaneous blockage of EGFR and VEGFR-2 and their downstream signaling pathways by using cell cultures and a mouse model of lung cancer. These studies will help ascertain that EGFR and VEGFR-2 positive lung cancers may be amendable to therapeutic intervention by delphinidin.


For a list of Dr. Afaq's publications, visit Pubmed