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Gibson Group: Ashfaq Ahmad


Ashfaq was born in Swat Valley, Pakistan where he grew up. He studied Biotechnology (with specialization in Plant Biotechnology) at the University of Swat. During his final year, he undertook a research project under the supervision of Dr. Nisar Ahmad, in the area of Plant celll and tissue culture, investigating the effect of plant growth regulators, nanoparticle, and light on the production of secondary metabolites in the plants. He also worked as a Research assistant in a project of Molecular Biology with Dr. Fazal Akbar at the University of Swat. He graduated in 2016 with a Gold Medal by securing the highest grades in his class. Following his graduation, he was awarded the Mastermind scholarship by the Belgian government to pursue an M.Sc. course (by research) i.e. Interuniversity program in Molecular Biology (IPMB), organized by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Universiteit Antwerpen. He did his master thesis under the supervision of Prof. Rouslan Efremov, in the laboratory of Electron Cryogenic Microscopy. His thesis involved the genomic engineering of an operon in the E. coli through lambda red coupled CRISPR/Cas9 system for enhancing the expression of a specific protein, a prerequisite for structural and functional analysis of protein. In September 2019, Ashfaq started his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Matthew Gibson, as part of the European project NanoCarb. His Ph.D. is focused on the Recombinant production of carbohydrate-binding proteins and the investigation of their function.

Research Interests

Genome editing using CRISPR/Cas9, Site-directed mutagenesis, Bio-Layer Interferometry (BLI), Protein expression and purification, Cloning and bacterial cell culturing, PCR and gel electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE and western blotting, Silver staining, coomassie staining, BCA assay for protein quantification, Immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC), Anion exchange chromatography, Size exclusion chromatography.


  1. Ahmad A, Ali H, Khan H, Begam A, Khan S, Ali SS, Ahmad N, Fazal H, Ali M, Hano C, Ahmad N. Effect of Gibberellic Acid on Production of Biomass, Polyphenolics and Steviol Glycosides in Adventitious Root Cultures of Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.). Plants. 2020 Apr;9(4):420.
  2. Ghazal B, Saif S, Farid K, Khan A, Rehman S, Reshma A, Fazal H, Ali M, Ahmad A, Rahman L, Ahmad N. Stimulation of secondary metabolites by copper and gold nanoparticles in submerge adventitious root cultures of Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.). IET nanobiotechnology. 2018 Jan 10;12(5):569-73.
  1. Idrees M, Sania B, Hafsa B, Kumari S, Khan H, Fazal H, Ahmad I, Akbar F, Ahmad N, Ali S, Ahmad N. Spectral lights trigger biomass accumulation and production of antioxidant secondary metabolites in adventitious root cultures of Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.). Comptes rendus biologies. 2018 Jul 1;341(6):334-42.


PhD student and Marie-Curie Early Stage Researcher
University of Warwick (2019- 2023)

M.Sc Molecular Biology (Inter-university program)
KU Leuven, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Universiteit Antwerpen (2017-2019)

B.S Biotechnology
University of Swat (2012-2016)


ashfaq dot ahmad at warwick dot ac dot uk

ashfaq dot ahmad dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk