faculty



Dr Azra Mehmood

Associate Professor


Stem Cells Research Lab

e-mail: azramehmood@cemb.edu.pk

Dr Azra Mehmood did her BSc (Hons.) in Animal Husbandry from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and joined CEMB in 2004 as an MPhil research scholar and in 2006 continued to work towards PhD under the indigenous HEC scholarship program  at CEMB. She was awarded PhD in 2011. She did her PhD on role of endothelial progenitor cells in development and therapy of diabetic heart failure. During her MPhil and PhD she established culture conditions for Endothelial Progenitor Cells and prepared rat models of diabetes induced cardiomyopathy first time in Pakistan. During her PhD she worked at Stem Cells Research Group at Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA for one year under mentorship of Professor Dr Muhammad Ashraf and Professor Dr Meifeng Xu. After submission of her PhD thesis she joined CEMB as Post Doc Fellow in 2009 and worked for the strengthening of stem cells research here at CEMB. She pioneered research on exploitation of therapeutic efficacy of cord derived stem cells in thermal /acid burns, diabetic and aging associated wounds, osteoarthritis and diabetes. She is currently working as Associate Professor at CEMB and leading Stem cells Therapeutics and Regenerative Medicine group at CEMB. 

She with her PhD researchers, is the first one in Pakistan, to optimize conditions for culture of human cord tissue derived stem cells, skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts, chondrocytes, lipoaspirate, blood and urine derived stem cells, skin fibroblasts derived iPSCs; as well as optimized procedures for preparation of various models of skin burns, osteoarthritis, diabetes, hepatocellular carcinoma invivo and invitro (thermal/ acid burns, oxidative stressed stem cells/chondrocytes, and hyperglycemia models). She has developed various constructs of human keratinocytes and fibroblasts embedded PRP gel, fibroblasts loaded chitosan, and lipoaspirate or cord stem cells carrier chitosan/ elastin/ amniotic membrane scaffolds for wound healing. Besides, her research involves investigation of effects of various chemokines, growth factors, antioxidants, co-culture, differentiation and stem cells combinatorial procedures on stem cells functionality in normal and invitro stress models. She has also been involved in applied research since 2018 and has been investigating autologous lipoaspirate stem cells in clinical trials for skin regeneration.

She has been member of various international societies from time to time like American Heart Association, Wound Healing Society and Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS). Her research abstracts have been published in proceedings of the annual meetings of these international societies.

She has been the recipient of Research Productivity award for the year 2016-17 by PCST (Pakistan Council for Science and Technology). She was awarded Travel grant of 1000$ for her poster presentation at Wound Healing Society, USA (2017). She has received the Punjab University performance evaluation award for the year 2022, 2021, 2019, 2015, 2013. She is also recipient of HEC indigenous PhD scholarship by Higher Education Commission, Pakistan; and awardee of HEC-MPhil scholarship. She also received Workers Welfare Board Merit scholarship by Punjab government throughout her B.Sc.Hons. and FFC Model school scholarship during her intermediate. She is an adjunct faculty of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical university and reviewer of HEC grants.

She has produced several MPhil and nine PhD students, most of whom have (by HEC support) got research training from prestigious institutes worldwide such as Institute for Cell Engineering, John Hopkins, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA; Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), USA; Wellcome – MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, UK; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

She has completed HEC funded SRGP, NRPU, and TDF grants. She has recently been awarded a European Foundation grant worth 125,000Euros for investigating mechanisms of renal metabolic memory in diabetes and therapeutic strategies to counter it.

 Selected Publications

 

  1. Ramzan A, Mehmood A, Ashfaq R, Andleeb A, Butt H, Zulfiqar S, Nasir M, Hasan A, Khalid K, Yar M, Malik K, Riazuddin S. Zinc oxide loaded chitosan-elastin-sodium alginate nanocomposite gel using freeze gelation for enhanced adipose stem cell proliferation and antibacterial properties. Int J Biol Macromol. 2023 Apr 1;233:123519.
  2. M. Shifa ul Haq, Ramla Ashfaq, Azra Mehmood, Warda Shahid, Hafiz Ghufran Azam, Maryam Azam, Saba Tasneem, Shehla Javed Akram, Kausar Malik, Sheikh Riazuddin, Priming with caffeic acid enhances the potential and survival ability of human adipose-derived stem cells to counteract hypoxia, Regenerative Therapy, Volume 22, 2023, Pages 115-127
  3. Azam M, Ghufran H, Tasneem S, Mehmood A, Malik K, Yousaf MA, Tarar MN, Akram SJ, Riazuddin S. Priming of adipose-derived stem cells with curcumin prior to cryopreservation preserves their functional potency: Towards an ‘Off-the-shelf’ therapy for burns. Cryobiology. 2022 Dec 5: S0011-2240(22)00370-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2022.12.001. 
  4. Ghufran H, Azam M, Mehmood A, Ashfaq R, Baig MT, Malik K, Shahid AA, Riazuddin S. Tumoricidal effects of unprimed and curcumin-primed adipose-derived stem cells on human hepatoma HepG2 cells under oxidative conditions. Tissue Cell. 2022 Dec; 79:101968. 
  5. Anisa Andleeb, Azra Mehmood, Muhammad Tariq, Hira Butt, Rashid Ahmed, Aneeta Andleeb, Hafiz Ghufran, Amna Ramzan, Asim Ejaz, Kausar Malik, Sheikh Riazuddin, Hydrogel patch with pretreated stem cells accelerates wound closure in diabetic rats, Biomaterials Advances, Volume 142, 2022, 213150, ISSN 2772-9508
  6. Hafiz Ghufran, Maryam Azam, Azra Mehmood, Hira Butt, Sheikh Riazuddin. Standardization of diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocellular carcinoma rat model with time based molecular assessment, Experimental and Molecular Pathology, Volume 123, 2021, 104715, ISSN 0014-4800.
  7. Maryam Azam, Hafiz Ghufran, Hira Butt, Azra Mehmood, Ramla Ashfaq, Asad M Ilyas, Muhammad R Ahmad, Sheikh Riazuddin, Curcumin preconditioning enhances the efficacy of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells to accelerate healing of burn wounds, Burns & Trauma, Volume 9, 2021, tkab021, https://doi.org/10.1093/burnst/tkab021
  8. Maria Tayyab Baig, Hafiz Ghufran, Azra Mehmood, Maryam Azam, Shamsa Humayun, Sheikh Riazuddin (2021). Vitamin E pretreated Wharton’s jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells attenuate CCl4-induced hepatocyte injury in vitro and liver fibrosis in vivo. Biochemical Pharmacology, 186: 114480, ISSN 0006-2952.
  9. Hafiz Ghufran, Azra Mehmood, Maryam Azam, Hira Butt, Amna Ramzan, Muhammad Amin Yousaf, Asim Ejaz, Moazzam N.Tarar, Sheikh Riazuddin. Curcumin preconditioned human adipose derived stem cells co-transplanted with platelet rich plasma improve wound healing in diabetic rats Life Sciences 257: 118091 2020  
  10. Mubashra Zehra, Azra Mehmood, Muhammad Yar, Lubna Shahzadi, Sheikh Riazuddin (2020). Development of NSAID‐loaded nano‐composite scaffolds for skin tissue engineering applications Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B: Applied Biomaterials, PMID: 32619310.
  11. Mubashra Zehra, Waliya Zubairi, Anwarul Hasan, Hira Butt, Amna Ramzan, Maryam Azam, Azra Mehmood, Mojtaba Falahati, Aqif Anwar Chaudhry, Ihtesham Ur Rehman, Muhammad Yar (2020). Oxygen Generating Polymeric Nano Fibers That Stimulate Angiogenesis and Show Efficient Wound Healing in a Diabetic Wound Model. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 15: 3511-3522.
  12. Ramla Ashfaq, Azra Mehmood, Amna Ramzan, Intzar Hussain, Moazzam Nazeer Tarar & Sheikh Riazuddin (2020). Antioxidant pretreatment enhances umbilical cord derived stem cells survival in response to thermal stress in vitro. Regenerative Medicine, 15(3): 1441-1453 .
  13. H Butt, A Mehmood, A Ejaz, S Humayun and S Riazuddin (2020). Epigallocatechin-3-gallate protects Wharton’s jelly derived mesenchymal stem cells against in-vitro heat stress. European journal of Pharmacology; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2020.172958.