Institute of Dentistry - Barts and The London

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


Professor of Molecular and Cellular Oral Biology

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7882 2387
Room Number: G81, Blizard Building, Institute of Dentistry


Ahmad Waseem obtained his PhD from the Department of Biochemistry, Aligarh Muslim University, India in 1982. He spent 4 years as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago working on red blood cell cytoskeleton, where he identified protein kinase C and its novel substrates. In 1987 he joined Clare Hall Laboratories, Imperial Cancer Research Fund as a post-doctoral research associate with Professor Brigitte Lane to work on intermediate filaments especially keratins, a family of proteins that he still has keen interest in. After spending a year in the University of Dundee, Scotland, Dr Waseem joined King’s College London (then United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals, UMDS) in 1992 as a Lecturer in Oral Biology. In 1998 he spent six months at the Department of Biochemistry, NYU Medical Centre, New York on a sabbatical working on the transcriptional regulation of keratin genes.

Dr 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 was made Professor of Molecular and Cellular Oral Biology in 2015. He received Queen Mary ADEPT Fellowship in 2017 for his extensive experience of teaching Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Professor Waseem has so far supervised 12 PhD theses to successful completion. He collaborates with national and international research groups on both basic and clinical aspects of his research. Professor Waseem is on the editorial board of a number of International journals including International Journal of Dentistry, Scientifica and PLoS One. He publishes his research in international journals of high impact such as the Scientific Reports, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Molecular and Cell Biology, Journal of Pathology and the American Journal of Pathology.


Centre: Centre for Oral Immunobiology and Regenerative Medicine


Professor Waseem teaches Biochemistry to 1st year BDS and Cell and Molecular Biology to 3rd year Biomed students. He also teaches Cell and Molecular Biology to MSc Experimental Oral Pathology and MSc Oral Biology students. He is the lead for “Oral Biology for Biomedical Sciences” Module BMD357, an optional module available to 3rd year Biomed students. This is the only dentally oriented optional module offered to the Biomed students.


Research Interests:


Identification of cytoskeletal proteins in angle closure glaucoma: The most common subtypes of glaucoma are primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (PACG). Amongst patients with glaucoma, PACG accounts for about a quarter of the cases, but half of the total burden of bilateral blindness. In collaboration with our colleagues in the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, we are investigating the role of cytoskeletal proteins and their binding partners in anterior segment of the eye to understand PACG pathogenesis.

Our main interest is to understand the mechanisms that regulate differentiation and growth of keratinocytes. We are using intermediate filament (IF) proteins as biomarkers to study differentiation. These are a very large family of structural proteins, which show differentiation and development-specific expression. They form a three-dimensional network inside the cytoplasm, which is essential for the structural integrity of adherent cells. Currently we are interested in the following projects:

Use of IF proteins as biomarkers for stratification of head and neck cancers: Head and neck cancer (HNSCC) is the 6th most common cancer by incidence worldwide. The etiological factors include use of tobacco, alcohol and areca nuts. In recent years HPV16 infection is recognised as a major causative factor which is perhaps the reason HNSCCs incidences are not decreasing despite reduced consumption of tobacco, alcohol and areca nuts. At present there are no reliable marker that can be used for identification HPV16 induced HNSCCs. We are evaluating keratins as biomarkers specifically for HNSCC caused by HPV16 infection for patient stratification and to developing novel and effective treatment strategies for these cancers.

Identification of cytoskeletal proteins in angle closure glaucoma: The most common subtypes of glaucoma are primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (PACG). Amongst patients with glaucoma, PACG accounts for about a quarter of the cases, but half of the total burden of bilateral blindness. In collaboration with our colleagues in the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital, we are investigating the role of cytoskeletal proteins and their binding partners in anterior segment of the eye to understand PACG pathogenesis.



Aldehlawi H, Niemiec KA, Avisetti DR, Lalli A, Teh MT, Waseem A. (2019) The monoclonal antibody EPR1614Y against the stem cell marker keratin K15 lacks specificity and reacts with other keratins. Scientific Reports 9, e1943.
Qadir F, Aziz MA, Sari CP, Ma H, Dai H, Wang X, Raithatha D, Da Silva LGL, Hussain M, Poorkasreiy SP, Hutchison IL, Waseem A, Teh MT (2018) Transcriptome reprogramming by cancer exosomes: identification of novel molecular targets in matrix and immune modulation. Molecular Cancer 17, 97
Maruthappu T, Chikh A, Fell B, Delaney PJ, Brooke MA, Levet C, Moncada-Pazos A, Ishida-Yamamoto A, Blaydon D, Waseem A, Leigh IM, Freeman M, Kelsell DP (2017) Rhomboid family member 2 regulates cytoskeletal stress-associated keratin 16. Nature Communications 8, e14174.
Brown L, Waseem A, Cruz IN, Szary J, Gunic E, Mannan T, Unadkat M, Yang M, Valderrama F, O’Toole EA and Wan H (2014) Desmoglein 3 regulates cancer cell migration through PKC dependent-ezrin activation. Oncogene 33, 2363-7
Bose A, Muy-Teck Teh, Mackenzie IC, Waseem A (2013) Keratin K15 as a biomarker for epidermal stem cells. Communicated to International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14, e19385-98.
Hwang S, Mahadevan S, Qadir F, Hutchison I, Costea D, Neppelberg E, Liavaag P-G, Waseem A and Teh Muy-Teck (2013) Identification of FOXM1-induced epigenetic markers for head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer 119, 4249-58
Teh M-T, Hutchison IL, Costea DE, Neppelberg E, Liavaag PG, Purdie K, Harwood C, Wan H, Odell EW, Hackshaw A, Waseem A (2012) Exploiting FOXM1-Orchestrated Molecular Network for Early Squamous Cell Carcinoma Diagnosis and Prognosis. International Journal of Cancer 132, 2095-2106.
Bose A, Teh M-T, Hutchison IL, Wan H, Leigh IM and Waseem A (2012) Two mechanisms regulate keratin K15 expression in keratinocytes: role of PKC/AP-1 and FOXM1 mediated signalling. PLoS ONE 7, e38599.
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.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. Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine 41, 454-62.
Gemenetzidis E, Elena-Costea D, Parkinson EK, Waseem A, Wan H, Teh MT. (2010) Induction of human epithelial stem/progenitor expansion by FOXM1. Cancer Research 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 Oncology 46, 536-42.
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
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. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 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 Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine 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. Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine 37, 372-7
Lalli A, Tilakaratne WM, Ariyawardena A, 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. Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine 37, 211-20
Köse O, and Waseem A (2008) Keloids and hypertrophic scars: are they two different sides of the same coin? Dermatologic Surgery 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. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 33, 62-9.
Köse O, Lalli A, Kutulola A O, Odell E W and Waseem A (2007) Changes in the expression of stem cell markers in oral lichen planus and hyperkeratotic lesions. Journal of Oral Sciences 49, 133-139
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. Molecular Cell Biology 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: alpha-and beta-adducin transcripts down-regulate with keratinocyte differentiation in stratified epithelia. Journal of Pathology 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 American Journal of Pathology 162, 963-975.
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. Journal of Biological Chemistry 277, 21712-21722.
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. Journal of Biological Chemistry 276, 10168-10177.
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. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 112, 362-369.
Waseem A, Alam Y, Dogan B, White KN, Leigh IM and Waseem NH (1998) Isolation, sequence and expression of the gene encoding human keratin 13. Gene 215, 269-279.
Machesney M, Tidman N, Waseem A, Kirby L and Leigh IM (1998) Activated keratinocytes in the epidermis of hypertrophic scars. American Journal of Pathology 152, 1133-1141
Waseem A, White K and Waseem N (1997) Identification of a novel keratin epitope: evidence for association between non-helical sub-domains L12 during filament assembly. International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology 29, 971-989.
Fu L, Suen CK, Waseem A and White KN (1997) Variable requirement for splicing signals for nucleo-cytoplasmic export of mRNA. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology International 42, 3290337
Waseem A, Lane EB, Harrison DL and Waseem N (1996) A keratin antibody recognising a heterotypic complex: epitope mapping to complementary locations on both components of the complex. Experimental Cell Research 223, 203-214
Su L, Morgan PR, Harrison dl, Waseem A and Lane EB (1993) Expression of keratin mRNAs and proteins in normal salivary epithelial and pleomorphic adenomas. Journal of Pathology 171, 173-181.
Waseem A, Gough AC, Spurr NK and Lane EB (1990) Localization of the gene for human simple epithelial keratin 18 to chromosome 12 using polymerase chain reaction. Genomics 7, 188-194.
Waseem A and Palfrey HC (1990) Identification and protein kinase C-dependent phosphorylation of alpha-adducin in human fibroblasts. Journal of Cell Science 96, 93-98
Waseem A, Alexander CM, Steel JB and Lane EB (1990) Embryonic simple epithelial keratin 8 and 18: chromosomal localisation emphasizes difference from other keratin pairs. The New Biologist 2, 464-478.
Rogalski AA, Steck TL and Waseem A (1989) Association of glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase with the plasma membrane of the intact human red blood cell. Journal of Biological Chemistry 264, 6438-6446.
Waseem A and Steck TL (1989) Protein association with band 3 at cytoplasmic surface of human erythrocyte membrane. Methods in Enzymology 29, 971-983
Waseem A and Palfrey HC (1988) Erythrocyte adducin: Comparison of the - and -subunits and multiple-site phosphorylation by protein kinase C and cAMP-dependent protein kinase. European Journal of Biochemistry 178, 563-573.
Palfrey HC and Waseem A (1988) Protein kinase C and its associated substrates in the human erythrocyte. Society of General Physiologists Series 43, 357-369.
Waseem A and Anwar K (1987) Glycoprotein-concanavalin A interaction: role of protein conformation in the specific interaction of glycoprotein with concanavalin A. Biomedica Biochimica Acta 46, 23-32
Palfrey HC and Waseem A (1985) Protein kinase C in the human erythrocyte. Translocation to the plasma membrane and phosphorylation of bands 4.1 and 4.9 and other membrane proteins. Journal of Biological Chemistry 260, 16021-16029.
Salahuddin A and Waseem A (1984) Functional properties of divalent derivatives of concanavalin A. Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics 21, 93-98.
Waseem A and Salahuddin A (1983) Relevance of hydrophobic interactions in specific binding of multivalent ligands to concanavalin A - effect of organic solvents. Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics 20, 253-258.
Waseem A and Salahuddin A (1983) Anomalous temperature-dependence of the specific interaction of concanavalin A with a multivalent ligand-dextran. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 746, 65-71.
Salahuddin A, Waseem A, Khan MY, Qasim MA and Sibghat-ullah (1983) A possible relation between the salting-out behaviour of proteins and their surface hydrophobicity. Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics 20, 127-131
Bano B, Garg M, and Waseem, A (1983) Solubility of buffalo fibrinogen in concentrated ammonium sulphate solution. Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics 20,43-45.
Book Chapter:
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.