Photo of Dr. Farrukh Afaq

Assistant Professor; Associate Scientist, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center

Areas of Interest
photocarcinogenesis, photoaging and other hyperproliferative and inflammatory skin diseases


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. He has shown that fisetin (3,7,3′,4′-tetrahydroxyflavone), a naturally occurring flavonoid, exhibits anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-invasive effects on melanoma cells by targeting PI3K/AKT/mTOR, MAPK and NFκB signaling pathways. His research also focuses on the combinatorial approach for the prevention/treatment of melanoma. He is investigating the effects of phytochemicals in combination with BRAF and/or MEK inhibitors on cell proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions in melanoma cell lines with different genetic backgrounds, tissue-engineered three-dimensional human melanoma skin equivalents and mouse models.

Another area of his research interest is the prevention/treatment of lung cancer. He has found that delphinidin, an anthocyanidin present in pigmented fruits and vegetables, 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.

Education & Training

Graduate School
M.S., Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India, Biochemistry, 1991
M.Phil., Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India, Biochemistry, 1995
Ph.D., Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India, Biochemistry, 1998

Contact Information

VH 501

(205) 934-5190