Dr Sheikh Naeem Shafqat BPharm, PhD, AFHEA


Senior Research Fellow

Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Contact details

School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Institute of Biomedical Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Naeem Shafqat is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Birmingham. Naeem is a protein biochemist/structure biologist by training who now applies his profound knowledge and expertise is studying human enzymes associated with the Disorders of Sex-Development and Prostate Cancer.

Being an enthusiastic scientist, Naeem has published a number of high impact peer-reviewed research papers and has determined more than 40 3D structures of human enzymes associated with different metabolic disorders. Furthermore, being a member of the Higher Education Academy, UK, Naeem is active in teaching and in developing curriculum material for the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.


  • 2014: Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
  • 2004: PhD in Medical Biochemistry, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1996: Bachelor of Pharmacy, University of Karachi, Pakistan


Naeem Shafqat qualified with a BPharm degree from the University of Karachi, Pakistan in 1996. After finishing his BPharm studies, he joined Park-e-Davis Pharmaceuticals, Karachi, Pakistan as a trainee Tablet Production Officer. In 1998, to continue his passion for medical research he went on to study for a PhD in Medical Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Soon after completing his PhD, he joined the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), University of Oxford (2004-2011) as a post-doctoral fellow, to study the structure-function properties of human metabolic enzymes associated with the pathogenesis of different metabolic disorders, diabetes mellitus and hormone dependent cancer forms. At Oxford Naeem got a unique opportunity to train as an expert in modern state-of-art high-throughput protein expression-purification, crystallization and structure biology techniques. During his stay at Oxford, he was responsible for the protein production pipeline of human metabolic enzymes. He has supervised a number of research projects at Oxford, resulting in number of publications and determination of over 40 3D structures of human enzymes/proteins.

Subsequently, Naeem joined the Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Birmingham in 2011 where he is currently studying the structure-function properties and inhibition profiles of three clinically important human enzymes (5alpha-Reductase isozymes, 17beta-HSD type-6 and Cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase) and their disease mutants, identified from patient screening programme, involved in the pathogenesis of Prostate Cancer and Disorders of Sex Development.


Dr Naeem’s teaching involves designing and development of Curriculum material, delivery of lectures, small-group tutorial and Research Taster sessions in the following undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.

  • Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMedSci)
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)
  • MSc (Drug Discovery)
  • Master of Pharmacy (MPharm)

Postgraduate supervision

Naeem is always interested in recruiting talented new students and postdoctoral associates. Please feel free to contact him for further information on current opportunities. If you are interested in furthering your studying any endocrine-related cancers please contact Naeem on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: dr@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Role of androgens in Prostate cancer
Androgens are a major driver of prostate cancer growth and blocking androgen action, through castration or chemical inhibition of androgen synthesis, is a key therapeutic approach to the treatment of prostate cancer. In prostate cells, testosterone is converted to the most potent androgen 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5α-reductase type 2. Dr Naeem’s primary research focus is to identify novel chemical compounds capable of inhibiting the 5α-reductase type 2 mediated syntheses of DHT in prostate cancer cells. The compounds with best inhibition potency could then be use for the treatment of Prostate cancer patients and will provide the starting framework for the further drug development process.

Co-factor regulation
Cytochrome P450 Oxidoreductase (CYPOR) is a crucial enzyme responsible for providing electrons to the microsomal P450 enzymes involved in hepatic phase 1 drug metabolism, sex-steroid synthesis and bone development process. Any malfunctioning in the CYPOR function could lead to the medical condition of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Antley-Bixler syndrome and severe Disorders of Sex-Development. Dr Naeem at CEDAM is studying the 3D structure properties of CYPOR mutant enzymes in terms of how mutation in CYPOR is affecting the transfer of electron to Cytochrome P450 enzymes.

Other activities

Laboratory setup:
To bring closer the modern aspects of the high-throughput biomedical and translational research, Naeem has setup a cutting edge biomedical platform (high-throughput Ligation Independent cloning, prokaryotic protein expression system, hi-tech Akta protein purification system and protein crystallization facility) at CEDAM for the robust structure-function analysis of clinically important human proteins and their disease associated mutants.

At present, this facility is serving as a teaching ground for the undergraduate and PhD students, intercalating medics and visiting fellows to study their target proteins of interest.

Implementation of an Electronic Note-book system (ELN) at CEDAM:
For an interactive, safe and efficient documentation of daily research work, Naeem has successfully administered and implemented the use of ELN system at the CEDAM, University of Birmingham. Following his efforts a number of research groups at the department have started using the ELN system.

Current member of the following professional bodies:

  • The Higher Education Academy, UK
  • The British Endocrine Society


Mueller JW and Shafqat N (2013) Adenosin-5'-phosphosulfate (APS) - a multifaceted modulator of bifunctional PAPS synthases and related enzymes. FEBS J 280(13):3050-7

Shafqat N, Muniz JR, Pilka ES, Paragrigoriou E, von Delft F, Oppermann U and Yue WW (2013) Insight into S-adenosyl-L-methionine biosynthesis from crystal structures of human methionine adenosyltransferase catalytic and regulatory subunits. Biochem J 452(1):27-36

Shafqat N, Kavanagh KL, Sass JO, Christensen E, Fukao T, Lee WH, Oppermann U and Yue WW (2013) A structural mapping of mutations causing succinyl-CoA:3-ketoacid CoA transferase (SCOT) deficiency. J Inherit Metab Dis 36(6):983-7

Chaikuad A*, Shafqat N*, Al-Mokhtar R, Cameron G, Clarke AR, Brady L, Oppermann U, Frayne J and Yue WW (2011) Structure and kinetic characterization of human sperm-specific glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, GAPDS (*equal contribution). Biochem J 435(2):401-9

Porté S, Moeini A, Reche I, Shafqat N, Oppermann U, Farrés J and Parés X (2011) Kinetic and structural evidence of the alkenal/one reductase specificity of human ζ-crystallin. Cell Mol Life Sci 68(6):1065–77

Shafqat N, Turnbull A, Zschocke J, Oppermann U and Yue WW (2010) Crystal structures of human HMG-CoA synthase isoforms provide insights into inherited ketogenesis disorders and inhibitor design. J Mol Biol 398(4):497-506

Porte S, Valencia E, Yakovtseva EA, Borras E, Shafqat N, Debreczeny JE, Pike AC, Oppermann U, Farres J, Fita I and Pares X (2009) Three-dimensional structure and enzymatic function of proapoptotic human p53-inducible quinone oxidoreductase PIG3. J Biol Chem 284(25):17194-205

Shafqat N*, Shafqat J, Eissner G, Marshall H, Tryggvason K, Eriksson U, Gabrielli F, Lardy H, Jörnvall H and Oppermann U (2006) Hep27, a member of the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase family, is an NADPH-dependent dicarbonyl reductase expressed in vascular endothelial tissue. Cell Mol Life Sci 63(10): 1205-13 (*corresponding author)

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