Lab Members

Current Graduate Students:


Anjana Krishnan, CMHS, UAE University, (2018- present): Recently joined as a PhD student in the laboratory.  Briefly, she is working towards: i) expressing, purifying, and characterizing FIV Pr75Gag, ii) identifying and characterizing Pr78Gag binding site(s) on the FIV gRNA, iii) establishing correlations between the Pr75Gag binding site(s) and gRNA packaging, and iv) establishing structure-function relationships of palindromic dimerization initiation site (DIS) sequence (Kenyon et al., RNA, 2008; Rizvi et al., J. Mol. Biol., 2010; Kenyon et al., Nuc. Acids Res., 2011) during FIV gRNA packaging employing a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches. E-mail: anjana.k.edu@uaeu.ac.ae

Fathima Nuzra Nagoor Pitchai, CMHS, UAE University, (2016- present):  Recently joined as a PhD student in the laboratory.  Briefly, he is working towards: i) expressing, purifying, and characterizing MMTV Pr78Gag, ii) identifying and characterizing Pr78Gag binding site(s) on the MPMV gRNA, iii) establishing correlations between the Pr78Gag binding site(s) and gRNA packaging, and iv) establishing structure-function relationships of ssPurine sequence (Aktar et al., RNA, 2013) during MPMV gRNA packaging employing a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches. E-mail: f_nuzra@uaeu.ac.ae

Akhil Chameettachal, CMHS, UAE University, (2016- present):  Recently joined as a PhD student in the laboratory.  Briefly, he is working towards: i) expressing, purifying, and characterizing MMTV Pr77Gag, ii) identifying and characterizing Pr77Gag binding site(s) on the MMTV gRNA, iii) establishing correlations between the Pr77Gag binding site(s) and gRNA packaging, and iv) establishing structure-function relationships of ssPurine sequence (Aktar et al., Retrovirology, 2014) during MMTV gRNA packaging employing a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches. E-mail: akhilc341@uaeu.ac.ae

Past Graduate Students:

Rawan Mohammad Khaleel Kalloush:  Recently defended her thesis entitled "Optimal packaging of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) genomic RNA depends upon conserved long range interactions (LRIs) between U5 and Gag sequences".  Briefly, her thesis work was directed towards validating the structure-function relationship(s) of various stems and loops of the recently predicted RNA secondary structure of MPMV packaging determinants (Jaballah et al., J. Mol. Biol., 2010; Aktar et al., RNA, 2013).  Specifically, she validated the existence and the biological significance of U5-Gag long-range interactions (LRIs) and the architectural role these LRIs may play in stabilizing the overall RNA secondary structure the MPMV packaging signal RNA (Kalloush et al., RNA, 2016).  Remaining part of her thesis work is being put together in the form of another manuscripts which will soon be submitted for publication in the leading journals of the field.

Suriya Jahan Aktar: Defended her doctoral thesis entitled "SHAPE validated secondary structures of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) and mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) packaging signal RNAs reveal pal helix loops functioning as dimerization initiation sites (DIS) controlling their genomic RNA (gRNA) packaging".  Briefly, her work validated the structure-function relationship(s) of various stems and loops of the putative RNA secondary structure of MPMV and MMTV packaging and dimerization determinants employing a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches.  Part of her thesis work has recently been published in the leading journals (Aktar et al., RNA, 2013; Aktar et al., Retrovirology, 2014).  In addition, she contributed significantly to other projects in the laboratory to be a co-author on other manuscripts from our laboratory (Rizvi et al., J. Mol. Biol., 2010; Jaballah et al., J. Mol. Biol., 2010).

Soumeya Jaballah:  Defended her Master’s thesis entitled “Delineation of MPMV RNA packaging determinants: Structure-function correlation of the 5' end of MPMV RNA genome” in April 2010.  Her thesis work was recently published in one of the leading journal of the field (Jaballah et al., J. Mol. Biol., 2010).  In addition, she also contributed to other published work from the laboratory (Al Dhaheri et al., Retrovirology, 2009).

Akela Ghazawi:  Defended her Master’s thesis entitled “Fine mapping of sequences important for FIV RNA packaging and their mechanism of function” in April 2005.  Work from her thesis has resulted in two publications in the top journals of the field (J. Virol., 2005; Microbes Infect., 2006).  In addition, based on her contributions to different ongoing projects in the laboratory, she had been a co-author in a number of other publications. 

Matthew T. Browning:  Defended his doctoral thesis entitled: “Cross-packaging among retroviruses and characterization of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) packaging signal: Implications for the development of FIV-based gene transfer systems” in 2001.  His thesis related work resulted in a number of publications in the leading journals of the field (Browning et al., J. Virol., 2001; Browning et al., J. Gen. Virol., 2003; Browning et al., Virus Research, 2003).

Undergraduate Medical Students:

Following undergraduate medical students have been trained in my laboratory at CMHS.

  • Noura Salem Al-Dhaheri, 2007-2010.  Completed her research project and published a manuscript in one of the leading journals (Al Dhaheri et al., Retrovirology, 2009).  In addition, based on her contributions to other projects in the laboratory, she is a co-author in few other manuscripts (Jaballah et al., J. Mol. Biol., 2010; Al Shamsi et al., Virus Research, 2011). 
  • Noura Rashid Al-Shamsi, 2006-2008. Completed her Medical Sciences research project which was awarded Dr. Rafia Ghubash Award at the 6th International Scientific Conference for Medical Students in the GCC countries, 2009.
  • Amna Matar Al-Nayadi, 2006-2008.  Completed her Medical Sciences research project which was awarded Dr. Rafia Ghubash Award at the 6th International Scientific Conference for Medical Students in the GCC countries, 2009.   
  • Dhuha Abdulaziz Al-Ameri, 2005-2006.  Completed her Medical Sciences research project with best research award.
  • Noor Majid Al-Sari, 2005-2006.  Completed her Medical Sciences research project with best research award.
  • Farah Mohammed Al-Ali, 2005-2006.  Completed her Medical Sciences research project with best research award.
  • Sara Khamis Al-Suwaidi, 2005-2006.  Completed her Medical Sciences research project with best research award.
  • Iman Rashid Al-Shamsi, 2004-2005.  Completed her Medical Sciences research project with two best research awards.  One at the 3rd Conference for Medical Students in the GCC countries, 2004 and the other one at the UAEU Research Conference, 2004.  Her work has recently been accepted for publication (Al Shamsi et al., Virus Research, 2011).

Technical Staff Members: