Main profile

Research keywords: 
Gene regulation, Conserved non-coding elements, cis-regulatory regions, vertebrate heart development

Ph.D.  Mar 2011 — Dec 2015

Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Thesis :  Cis-acting control of Human Developmental regulator GLI2

Elucidation of cis-acting regulatory control of GLI2 provides novel perspective for better understanding of Hedgehog signaling during vertebrate development, using zebrafish as an in vivo model.

M.Phil.  Feb 2008 — Mar 2010

Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Thesis : Overexpression of EMP3 in primary breast carcinomal tissues

Investigated the overexpression of EMP3 gene (a trans membrane signaling molecule with important roles in the regulation of apoptosis, differentiation and invasion of cancer cells) in freshly frozen biopsies of cancerous tissues compared to normal breast tissue, using semi-quantitative and Real Time PCR.

M.Sc.  Sep 2005 — Sep 2007

PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Research report: Correlation of Hypertriglyceridemia and Low HDL cholesterol with coronary artery diseases

B.Sc.  Jan 2000 — Dec 2004

University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan



Research interests

The early development of the vertebrate embryo is highly dynamic and conserved among the phylum. At the molecular level, the binding of different transcription factors in cis-regulatory regions (CRRs) plays a major role in fine-tuning of gene expression. This leads to tissue-specific expression of genes and any mutations in these regulatory regions can lead to developmental anomalies and disease. Many of these cis-regulatory elements are highly conserved in vertebrates and embedded in non-coding regions of the genome. Deciphering these elements in the genome and their functional validation in vertebrates is one of the major challenges in modern biology. My interest lies in deciphering these CRRs and define the syntax to identify these critical regions.


1 ) Ali, S., Amina B., Anwar S., Minhas , R., Parveen, N., Azam, S.S., Nawaz, U. Abbasi, A.A. 2016. Genomic features of human limb specific enhancers. Genomics 108 (3-4):143-150

2 ) Anwar S., *Minhas , R., Ali, S., Lambertc, N., Kawakami, Y., Azam, S.S., Abbasi, A.A. 2015. Identification and characterization of novel transcriptional enhancers involved in regulating GLI3 expression during early development. Dev Growth Differ 57(8): 570-580. * Co-first author

3 ) Minhas , R., Pauls, S., Ali, S., Doglio, L., Khan, M.K., Elgar, G., Abbasi, A.A. 2015 . Cis-regulatory control of human GLI2 expression in the developing neural tube and limb bud. Dev Dyn 24 4 (5):681-92

4 ) Abbasi, A.A., Minhas , R., Schmidt, A., Koch, S., Grzeschik, K.H. 2013 . Cis-regulatory underpinnings of human GLI3 expression in embryonic craniofacial structures and internal organs. Dev Growth Differ 55(8):699-709.

5 ) Parveen, N., Masood, A., Iftikhar, N., Minhas, B.F., Minhas , R., Nawaz, U., Abbasi, A.A. 2013 . Comparative genomics using teleost fish helps to systematically identify target gene bodies of functionally defined human enhancers. BMC Genomics 14 :122