Barts & The London - Institute of Dentistry

Dr Ahmad Waseem, BSc, MSc, MPhil, PhD (Biochemistry)


Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Telephone: +44 20 7882 2387
Room Number: Blizard Institute


Professor Ahmad Waseem obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the Department of Biochemistry, J. N. Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India in 1982. Dr Waseem then spent 4 years in the University of Chicago as a post-doctoral research fellow to work with Professors T. L. Steck and Clive Palfrey. In 1987 Professor Waseem joined Clare Hall Laboratories, Imperial Cancer Research Fund as a post-doctoral research associate with Professor Brigitte Lane, to work on keratins, a subject he has been interested in ever since. After spending a year in the University of Dundee, Scotland, Professor Waseem joined King's College (then United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals, UMDS) in 1992 as a Lecturer in Oral Biology on a joint appointment between the Institute of Dentistry and the Biochemistry Department of the Medical School.

Professor Waseem joined the Institute of Dentistry, Barts and the London, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry in May 2003 as a Reader in Oral Biology. He has extensive experience in teaching Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Professor Waseem has successfully co-ordinated several undergraduate courses with very high levels of student satisfaction. He collaborates with national and international research groups on both basic and clinical aspects of his research. Professor Waseem publishes his research in international journals of high impact factor, such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Molecular and Cell Biology, PLoS ONE, the Journal of Pathology and the American Journal of Pathology.

On the editorial board of International Journal of Dentistry

On the Editorial Board of Scientifica (Dermatology section).


Research Interests:

Professor Ahmad Waseem's research deals with the mechanisms that regulate differentiation and growth of keratinocytes in skin and oral epithelia. He is particularly interested in keratin proteins, which specifically characterize the epithelial nature of a tissue. These proteins constitute a very large family of structural proteins, which show differentiation and development-specific expression. They form a three-dimensional filamentous network inside the cytoplasm, which is vital for the structural integrity of the epithelial cells. The normal expression of keratins changes drastically in hyperproliferative/inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, lichen planus, pathological scarring and cancers. The alterations in keratin expression provide diagnostic and prognostic tools for squamous cell carcinoma of skin and oral cavity.

Although keratins are generally regarded as structural proteins, the recent data suggest that they have much more global role in the physiology of keratinocytes. They play active role(s) in growth, migration and invasion of epithelial cells. In this regard Professor Waseem has discovered a novel mechanism whereby the presence of a specific keratin protein regulates transcription of other keratin genes. This mechanism could play an important role in diseases where molecular changes cause perturbation in their expression. Professor Waseem is also interested in stem cell specific keratins such as K15 and K19, which appear to have the most unusual expression characteristics of all keratins. Decifering the mechanism of their expression and their role(s) in normal and cancer tissues remains the primary objectives of our research.


Key Publications

Machesney M, Tidman N, Waseem A, Kirby L and Leigh IM (1998) Activated keratinocytes in the epidermis of hypertrophic scars. Am J Pathol 152, 1133-1141.

Waseem A, Dogan B, Tidman N, Alam Y, Purkis P, Jackson S, Lalli A, Machesney M and Leigh IM (1999) Keratin 15 expression in stratified epithelia: down-regulation in activated keratinocytes. J Invest Dermatol 112, 362-369.

Ola A Waga S Ellison V Stillman B McGurk M Leigh IM Waseem NH and Waseem A (2001) Human-Saccharomyces cerevisiae proliferating cell nuclear antigen hybrids: oligomeric structure and functional characterisation using in vitro DNA replication. J Biol Chem 276, 10168-10177.

Ditzel HJ, Strik MC, Larsen MK, Willis AC, Waseem A, Kejling K and Jensenius JC (2002) Cancer-associated cleavage of cytokeratin 8/18 heterotypic complexes exposes a neo-epitope in human adenocarcinomas. J Biol Chem 277, 21712-21722.

Radoja N, Stojadinovic O, Waseem A, Tomic-Canic M, Milisavljevic V, Teebor S and Blumenberg M (2004) Thyroid hormones and gamma interferon specifically increase K15 keratin gene transcription. Mol Cell Biol 24, 3168-3179.

Waseem A, Uwe K, Leigh IM, Purkis P, Waseem NH and Lane EB (2004) Conformational changes in the rod domain of human keratin 8 following heterotypic association with keratin 18 and its implication for filament stability. Biochemistry USA 43, 1283-1295.

Bowen S, Bloor BK, Leigh IM and Waseem A (2003) Adducin expression in cutaneous and oral lesions: -and -adducin transcripts down-regulate with keratinocyte differentiation in stratified epithelia. J Pathol 201, 119-126.

Bloor BK, Tidman N, Leigh IM, Odell E, Dogan B, Wollina U, Ghali L and Waseem A (2003) Expression of keratin K2e in cutaneous and oral lesions: association with keratinocyte activation, proliferation and keratinisation Am J Pathol 162, 963-975.

Köse O, and Waseem A (2008) Keloids and hypertrophic scars: are they two different sides of the same coin? Dermatol Sur 34, 336-46.

Köse O, Stewart J, Waseem A, Lalli A and Fortune F (2008) Expression of cytokeratin, adhesion and activation molecules in oral ulcers of Behcet's disease. Clin and Exp Dermatol 33, 62-9.

Paccione RJ, Miyazaki H, Patel V, Waseem A, Gutkind JS, Zehner ZE, Yeudall WA. (2008) Keratin down-regulation in vimentin-positive cancer cells is reversible by vimentin RNA interference, which inhibits growth and motility. Mol Cancer Ther. 7, 2894-903

Teh M-T, Chaplin T, Young BD, Ariyawardana A, Pitiyage G, Hagi-Pavli E, Cruchley AT, Waseem A, Parkinson EK, Lalli. A, Fortune F, Tilakaratne WM (2008) Fingerprinting genomic instability in oral submucous fibrosis J Oral Path Med 37,430-6.

Tilakaratne WM, Iqbal Z, Teh M-T, Ariyawardana A, Pitiyage G, Cruchley A, Pavli EH, Lalli A, Waseem A, Parkinson EK, Fortune F (2008) Up regulation of HIF-1 α in malignant transformation of oral submucous fibrosis. J Oral Path Med 37, 372-7.

Lalli A, TilakaratneWM, AriyawardenaA, Fitchett C, Leigh IM, Hagi-Pavli E, Cruchley AT, Parkinson EK, Teh M-T, Fortune F and Waseem A (2008) An altered keratinocyte phenotype in oral submucous fibrosis: correlation of keratin K17 expression with disease severity. J Oral Path Med 37, 211-20.

Gemenetzidis E, Bose A, Riaz AM, Chaplin T, Young BD, Ali M, Sugden D, Thurlow JK, Cheong SC, Teo SH, Wan H, Waseem A, Parkinson EK, Fortune F, Teh MT. (2009) FOXM1 upregulation is an early event in human squamous cell carcinoma and it is enhanced by nicotine during malignant transformation. PLoS ONE. 4:e4849.

Gemenetzidis E, Elena-Costea D, Parkinson EK, Waseem A, Wan H, Teh MT. (2010) Induction of human epithelial stem/progenitor expansion by FOXM1. Cancer Res. 70, 9515-26.

Waseem A, Ali M, Odell EW, Fortune F, Teh MT (2010) Downstream targets of FOXM1: CEP55 and HELLS are cancer progression markers of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Oral Oncol. 46, 536-42.

Pitiyage GN, Lim KP, Gemenitzidis E, Teh M-Y, Waseem A, Prime SS, Tilakaratne WM, Fortune F, Parkinson EK (2012) Increased secretion of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases 1 and 2 (TIMPs -1 and -2) in fibroblasts are early indictors of oral sub-mucous fibrosis and ageing.J Oral Path Med (in press).

Teh MT, Gemenetzidis E, Patel D, Tariq R, Nadir A, Bahta AW, Waseem A and Hutchison IL (2012) FOXM1 Induces a Global Methylation Signature that Mimics the Cancer Epigenome in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. PLoS ONE 7, e34329.

Bose A, Teh M-T, Hutchison IL, Wan H, Leigh IM and Waseem A (2012) Two mechanisms regulate keratin K15expressionin keratinocytes: role of PKC/AP-1 and FOXM1 signalling. PLoS ONE 7, e38599.

Other publications
Waseem A and Leigh IM (2006) "The Skin" in 'Embryos, Genes and Birth Defects' 2nd Edition. Edited by Ferretti P, Copp A, Tickle C and Moore G. Published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd, West Sussex, England.