My laboratory applies a wide variety of in vitro (eg microcalorimetry, light scattering and optical spectroscopy) in combination with
in silico (eg molecular modeling, molecular dynamics and virtual screening) biophysical methods to study the basic mechanisms driving
protein-ligand interactions in the context of cellular processes pertinent to human health and disease.
A key emphasis of my laboratory is to exploit fundamental principles emerging from our basic research toward the rational design of
novel therapeutic approaches harboring greater efficacy coupled with low toxicity for the treatment of human disease.
Importantly, in the wake of ever rising costs coupled with lengthy clinical trials associated with de novo drug design, we have recently
also begun to devote a substantial part of our efforts toward repurposing old or existing drugs for new indications for which no other
therapeutic alternatives are available on the basis of structure-based rational approach.
Born in rural Kashmir in 1971, Amjad's early life set the tone for what would turn
out to be an example of what can be achieved in life. With no tellies or tubbies, his childhood centered upon herding goats, riding donkeys and the
crushing marks of thorns on the soles of his feet bear testament to the hard work ethic that embodies his soul. In 1985, at the tender age of
thirteen, the opportunity to relocate to England offered Amjad a new lease of life.
Equipped with only a handful of words of the host
language coupled with a setting that could not have been more alien to that of his upbringing in his native Kashmir, England presented Amjad with nothing short
of a culture shock. Yet, Amjad would rise to the challenge against all odds—a feature that would become the epitomy of his later life.
Although he faced many hurdles early on in his new hunting ground, it was not long before Amjad discovered
that his passion lay in science and that scientific curiosities challenged his innermost conscience. Despite the family pressure to pursue
medicine, he began to specialize in science from around mid teenage and through his hard work, dedication and stamina combined with an-equal-opportunity
land, Amjad rose through the academic ranks quickly and with flying colors.
Although a physics whiz, Amjad's interest in understanding
the intricacies of life meant that he had to settle for an undergraduate degree in a biomedical science. In 1994, he obtained his
baccalaureate with First Class Honors (Summa Cum Laude) in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester
in the north of England. Amjad's doctoral research focussed on elucidating the biophysical principles
underlying the folding of proteins within biological membranes. After obtaining his doctorate from the
University of London in 1998, Amjad joined
Dr Ming-Ming Zhou's laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine—with a highly
competitive postdoctoral fellowship, courtesy of Wellcome Trust of the United Kingdom.
Amjad's charming and gregarious personality combined with his passion for science soon struck a chord with
Dr Zhou and the scientific partnership would last for the next six years. During his postdoctoral training with Dr Zhou, Amjad not only mastered the art
of structural biology but also (co-)authored nearly two dozen papers in high-profile scientific journals.
In 2004, Amjad's excellent scientific productivity and promise as an independent scholar led to his recruitment at the tenure-track rank of Assistant
Professor at the Leonard Miller School of Medicine of the University of Miami. His continuing high scientific productivity was rewarded with a promotion
to the rank of Associate Professor in 2010. In 2012, he became a tenured faculty. Voila!