Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Atique Ahmed Lab

About the Ahmed Lab

The Ahmed Laboratory focuses on understanding the evaluation of therapeutic resistance in brain cancer.

The lab uses a combination of stem and cancer cell biology, advance molecular biology techniques (such as DNA chip technology, Next-Gen Sequencing, Chip-seq analysis, transgenic animal models and patient-derived orthotopic brain tumor animal models) and advanced in vivo imaging techniques to understand the molecular mechanism of therapeutic resistance and disease recurrence in brain tumors.

The main focus of this laboratory research is to:

1. Investigate the role of cellular and epigenetic plasticity in brain tumor recurrence

2. Advance the understanding of the Cancer Stem Cell Theory

3. Develop effective targeted therapy to prevent brain tumor recurrence


The Ahmed Lab received R01 funding from the NIH/NINDS to investigate the molecular mechanisms behind intratumoral cell fate equilibrium, how this equilibrium is altered during and after anti-cancer chemotherapy and its contribution to disease recurrence.

The lab received a grant from the American Cancer Society entitled "Chemotherapy-induced cancer stem cell niche." In this grant, Dr. Ahmed proposes to uncover key mechanistic pathways in cancer stem cell progression, laying groundwork for future innovative clinical trials.

Congratulations to:

Gina Lee on the acceptance of her manuscript “Dedifferentiation of glioma cells to glioma stem-like cells by therapeutic stress-induced HIF signaling in the recurrent GBM model” in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (IF=5.3). Co-authors for this manuscript include lab members Brenda Auffinger, Donna Guo, Tanwir Hasan and Fathema Atashi.

Seamus for winning the very prestigious Marshall Scholarship. Every year, 20 individuals are selected from all over the United States to study graduate-level at an U.K. institution. This scholarship will allow Seamus to attend the University of Cambridge for a MS in Neuroscience. 

Dr. Fatemeh Atashi ("EZH2-mediated ARL13B regulate ciliogenesis in GBM”) and Dr. Tanwir Hasan (“Interleukin-8/CXCR2 signaling regulated epigenetic plasticity and enhances tumorgenicity in glioblastoma”) on presenting their work in podium talks at the 2016 Society of Neuro-Oncology annual meeting in Scottsdale.

Robert Hall for being accepted into the Tufts Medical School for 2017 class. Very well deserved, Rob. We wish you all the best.

Robert Hall and Gina Lee on the acceptance of their manuscript “Cancer stem cells: cellular plasticity, niche, and its clinical relevance” in the Journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy (IF=2.2).

    Selected Publications

    Lee G, Auffinger B, Guo D, Hasan T, Deheeger M, Tobias AL, Kim JY, Han Y, Lesniak MS, David JC and Ahemd AU, "De-differentistion of glioma cells to glioma-stem-like cells by therapeutic stress-induced HIF signaling in the recurrent GBM model." Mol Cancer Ther. 2016 Dec;15(12):3064-3076.

    Lee G, Hall RR 3rd, Ahmed AU, "Cancer stem cells: cellular plasticity, niche, and its clinical relevance," J Stem Cell Res Ther. 2016 Oct;6(10). Pii:363.

    Kanojia D, Morshed RA, Zhang L, Qiao J, Kim JW, Pytel P, Balyasnikova IV, Lesniak MS and Ahmed AU. "Tubulin 3 regulates breast cancer metastasis to the brain." Mol Can Ther, 2015 May; 14(5):1153-61.

    Alexiades NG, Auffinger B, Hasan T, Kim CK, Lee G, Deheeger M, Kim J, Balyasnikova I, Aboody K, Lesniak MS and Ahmed AU. "MMP14 as a novel downstream of VEGFR2 in migratory glioma-tropic mural stem cells." Stem Cell Res. 2015 Oct22; 15(3):598-607.

    Auffinger B, Tobias A, Han Y, Lee G, Guo D, Day M, Lesniak MS and Ahmed AU. "Conversion of differentiated cancer cells into cancer stem-like cells in a glioblastoma model after primary chemotherapy." Cell Death and Differentiation. 2014 Jul;21(7): 1119-31.

    Deheeger M, Lesniak M. Ahmed AU. "Cellular plasticity is a new mechanism of chemoresistance," Can Cell and Microenv, 2014;1(5).

    Ahmed AU, Thaci B, Tobias A, Auffinger B, Zhang L, Kim CK, Yunis C, Yu Han, Alexiades NG, Fan X, Aboody Ks, Lesniak MS. "Pre-clinical establishment of neural stem cell-based cell carrier for anti-glioma oncolytic virotherapy." J of National Can Inst, 2013; 105 (13): 968-977.

    Ahmed AU, Thompson J, Emiliusen L, Murphy S, Beauchamp DR, Suzuki K, Alemany R, Harrington K and Richard G. Vile. 2003. "A conditionally replicating adenovirus targeted to tumor cells through activated RAS/P-MAPK-selective mRNA stabilization." Nature Biotech; 21(7): 771-7.

    Atique U. Ahmed, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
    Member, Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center