Ahmed

Rebaz Awat Ahmed

E-Mail:Rebaz-ahmed@ouhsc.edu

Phone: (405)271-6104

CITY/STATE/COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Al Sulaimanyah/ Kurdistan/ Iraq 

EDUCATION:

University of Sulaimani
Kurdistan, Iraq
BSc, Biology, 2005

University of Pune
Pune, Maharashtra, India
MSc, Biotechnology, 2011

YEAR OF GRADUATE PROGRAM:

4

MENTOR:

Rajagopal Ramesh, PhD
Jim and Christy Everest Endowed Chair in Cancer Developmental Therapeutics
Professor of Pathology
Director, Experimental Therapeutics and Translational Cancer Medicine
Chair, Fellowship Training and Mentoring Program
Member, OU Cancer Institute

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Exosomes are 30–100 nm (in diameter), lipid bilayer enclosed, nano vesicles secreted by all cell types including cancer cells, stem cells, immune cells and neurons. Unlike other extracellular vesicles such as microvesicles, ectosomes, and membrane particles, exosomes do not originate by the direct budding or shedding of the plasma membrane Instead, exosomes are derived from multi vesicular bodies (MVBs). Its formation occurs when the membrane of the MVBs bulge inward and pinches off to create small membranous vesicles within the MVBs known as Intra-luminal vesicles or ILVs. ILVs through a highly synchronized mechanism package cytoplasmic contents like- protein, RNAs, lipids and genomic DNA etc. mirroring the cell of their origin into its lumen. Subsequently ILVs are secreted as exosomes from the cell into the extracellular environment. Exosome biogenesis has been found altered in cancer cells especially in packaging of its contents. The secretion of exosomes has also been found to increase multiple times in tumors cells in comparison to normal cells.

The importance of exosomes in cancer:
Since exosomes can carry and deliver functionally active molecules from one cell to other, there has been active area of research studying the putative role of exosomes in cancer. Small non coding RNA of 20-24 nucleotides also known as micro-RNA or miRs are known to regulate many signaling pathways including those involved in cancer. Studies have demonstrated presence of miRs in the lumen of exosomes and that exosomes can successfully transport those miRs into recipient cells causing changes in the cellular physiology leading towards initiation or progression of cancer. Studies have also identified few miRs that can be used as therapeutic targets for treatment, or as diagnostic markers for detection of cancer. In addition to this, exosomes can be loaded with anticancer therapeutics that in turn, can be delivered to different parts of the body overcoming all physiological barriers. Hence, exosomes are also being explored as an alternative to traditional xenobiotic drug delivery vehicles.

Due to the above mentioned avenues of exosome in different aspects cancer research, I wish to take up exosome biology as my area of research. The main focus my study will be on studying the role of miRs present in exosomes derived from ovarian cancer cells. I want to develop understanding of miR packaging into the exosomes of cancer cells and their putative role in physiology of recipient cells.