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Dr. Salik Javed Kakar
Assistant Professor
Healthcare Biotechnology

National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST)
NUST Campus H-12, Islamabad
Tel : +92-051-9085-6143

Gene therapy and molecular genetics.

MBBS – 2002 – Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad (University of Peshawar, Pakistan); MSc – 2006 – University of Leicester (Leicester, UK); PhD – 2012 – The University of Manchester, (Manchester, UK)

Asalaam-o-Alaikum and thank you for dropping by! 

My higher education began at Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad. I received my MBBS degree from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan. The intricate biological interactions that would determine disease progression and eventual disease management always fascinated me. This led me to indulge in a research-based postgraduate programme – hence, the MSc in Molecular Genetics. I obtained scholarship from Higher Education Commission (HEC)/National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Pakistan for MSc studies after securing 2nd position in a nation-wide exam. I was awarded MSc degree at the University of Leicester, UK in 2006.

I had a great experience with research during my MSc studies; therefore, I wanted to build up on my experience to broaden my horizon of medical research knowledge. I worked on gene therapy for coronary artery disease (CAD) during PhD studies. I was awarded with PhD in Medicine at the University of Manchester, UK in 2012. I was awarded full scholarship for my PhD degree.

Further down the line, I worked as post-doctoral research associate in two research studies, both at the University of Manchester, before joining NUST.
My research exploration has gone to the vast dimensions of gene therapy in the field of therapeutic vascular gene transfer.

The main focus, at the moment, is towards gene transfer of different anti-atherosclerotic factors to prevent narrowing of vessels after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures. This involves utilising viral as well as innovative non-viral technologies for efficient transgene transfer.

Furthermore, I am interested in the development of novel expression cassettes to target different cell lines and enhance transgene expression.

Gene therapy itself is not limited to vascular gene transfer. Therefore, my long-term goal is to explore other potential human diseases that could benefit from gene therapy.

In addition to the above, I am also collaborating inside Pakistan and outside to modify/improve current technologies that are being applied in PCI/CABG and other invasive medical procedures.
1. Moinuddin Choudhury, Joseph Yanni, Salik Kakar, Alicia D’Souza, Paul Kingston, Halina Dobrzynski, Mark Boyett, Gwilym Morris. “YIA1 TBX18 Biopacemaking Improves Beating Rate And Alters Gene Expression in Bradycardic Subsidiary Right Atrial Pacemaker Tissue”. Heart; 2015 June; 101: A121-A123.

2. Appleby CE, Ranjzad P, Williams PD, Kakar SJ, Driessen A, Tijsma E, Fernandes B, Heagerty AM, Kingston PA. “Periluminal Expression of a Secreted TGF-β Type-II Receptor Inhibits In-Stent Neointima Formation Following Adenovirus-Mediated Stent-Based Intra-Coronary Gene Transfer”. Human Gene Therapy; 2014 May; 25(5): 443-51.

3. GM Quigley, JY Yan, SJ Kakar, K Farrell, PA Kingston, CM Holt, MY Alexander. “Decorin Accelerates Vascular Calcification Via Transforming Growth Factor-β Signalling Modulation”. Heart; 2010 Sep; 96(17): e15.

4. Kakar SJ, Williams PD and Kingston PA. “Adenovirus-Mediated Gene Transfer of the Latency-Associated Peptide of Transforming Growth Factor-β1 (TGF-β1) Abolishes TGF-β1 Signalling In Vitro and Suppresses Neointimal Hyperplasia in Saphenous Vein Segments”. Human Gene Therapy; 2010 Apr; 21(4): 496-506.

5. Williams PD, Ranjzad P, Kakar SJ, Kingston PA. “Development of Viral Vectors for Use in Cardiovascular Gene Therapy”. Viruses; 2010 Feb; 2(2): 334-371.