Lecturer of Biology
Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: PhD Southern Illinois University, Postdoc The Ohio State University
Research Areas: Host-Pathogen Interactions, Prion Biology, Protein Structure-Function Relationships
AJ Afzal is a plant molecular biologist by training with the first-hand experience in the areas of host-pathogen interactions and prion biology. The over-arching goal of his current research entails investigation of the plant immune network. This network involves multiple proteins, which are regulated by epigenetic mechanisms, post-transcriptional or post-translational modifications or through sub-cellular re-compartmentalization. Dr. Afzal uses a wide array of molecular/cell biological, biochemical as well as computational tools to answer fundamental questions related to defense-related protein function.
In 2007 Dr. Afzal received his PhD in Molecular Biology/Microbiology/Biochemistry (MBMB) from SIU, Carbondale IL. His PhD research dealt with the genomic and proteomic analysis of rhg1 mediated Soybean resistance against Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) and Fusarium virguliforme infection. In October 2007, he accepted a postdoctoral position in the department of Horticulture and Crop Science at the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. He was awarded Principal Investigator status at OSU in September 2012. As a postdoctoral researcher, AJ used an integrative approach to study plant innate immunity in the Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas model system.
AJ currently holds an Adjunct Assistant Professor position in the Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems at SIU, Carbondale and serves on the editorial board of Scientific Reports and BMC Genomics. Prior to joining NYUAD, Dr. Afzal was employed as Associate Professor of Biology at LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan.