Dr Fiyaz Mohammed

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Lecturer in Biomedical Structural Biology

Contact details

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Robert Aitken Institute of Clinical Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Fiyaz is a Lecturer in Biomedical Structural Biology in the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham. His research focuses on investigating immune cell surface receptor/ligand interactions relevant to cancer using X-ray crystallography.

He has published a number of peer reviewed research papers on clinically relevant immune receptor recognition events including those underpinning alloreactive T cell receptor/peptide-MHC recognition and T cell recognition of post-translationally modified peptides. His currently focussed on understanding the molecular and structural basis gamma delta T cell recognition.


  • Lecturer in Biomedical Structural Biology, 2012
  • PhD in X-ray Crystallography, 2001
  • BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry, 1996


Fiyaz obtained a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (1996) from the University of Wolverhampton. He gained extensive experience in protein X-ray crystallography methods whilst undertaking a PhD and subsequent postdoctoral studies in the groups of Professors Steve Wood and Jon Cooper at the University of Southampton. His research focused on determining the structure and catalytic mechanism of key enzymes linked to bipolar disorder, acute intermittent porphyria, degradation of xenobiotic compounds and the bacterial electron transport chain.

In 2004 he came to the University of Birmingham to join the laboratory of Professor Benjamin Willcox as a research fellow studying the molecular and structural basis of clinically important immune receptor recognition events. In particular, he made significant contributions to those underpinning alloreactive TCR-pMHC recognition events and T cell recognition of post-translationally modified peptides.

In 2012 he was appointed a Lecturer in Biomedical Structural Biology focused on investigating the immune cell surface receptor/ligand interactions relevant to cancer using X-ray Crystallography. His current focus is on understanding the molecular basis of gamma delta T cell recognition, an area that is of growing interest to industry.

He is also exploring the structural and molecular basis of CD248 and CLEC14A function, two key family members that have roles in tumour angiogenesis and inflammation. Finally, Fiyaz has a growing interest in understanding the structure and function of desmosomal proteins which is important for understanding the biology of epithelial tissues and cardiac muscle in normal development and disease.


Dr Mohammed currently leads the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy module as part of the MRes in Cancer Sciences course. He also contributes to the following programmes:

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Mohammed supervises PhD and MSc students.

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Dr Fiyaz Mohammed directly, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email mds-gradschool@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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


Dr Mohammed’ research focus is on investigating immune cell surface receptor/ligand interactions relevant to cancer using structural biology approaches such as X-ray crystallography. In particular, he has a long standing interest in the following key areas:

Gamma delta T cell recognition

γδ T cells are poorly understood class of lymphocyte strongly implicated in surveillance of cellular stress recognizing target cells that are infected or transformed. In collaboration with Professor Ben Willcox, Dr Mohammed is focused on understanding how γδ T cell ligands are recognized at a molecular level.

Post translational immunology

Phosphopeptide antigens are emerging as a novel class of tumour-associated antigen presented by MHC molecules and recognised by T cells. Since disregulated phosphorylation is a hallmark of malignant transformation, presentation of an altered repertoire of phosphopeptide antigens on cancer cells may represent a distinct and therapeutically targetable immunological signature of “transformed self”. Fiyaz is investigating the molecular basis of phosphopeptide presentation by MHC molecules and recognition by T-cells. These studies should establish the mode of presentation for a key subset of MHC-restricted tumour associated phosphopeptides and facilitate attempts to target them therapeutically.

Stem Cell Transplantation (SCT)

NKG2D is an activatory receptor that is expressed on a range of immune effector cells which engages stress induced ligands which include members of the ULBP family. Recent studies have highlighted that polymorphisms in the stress induced molecule, ULBP6, in patients with haematological malignancies play a critical role in determining the outcome of SCT. Dr Mohammed, in collaboration with Professors Paul Moss and Ben Willcox, is examining the molecular properties of the NKG2D/ULBP6 complex interaction with the aim of defining the mechanisms underlying curative anti-tumour responses following SCT.

Tumour Angiogenesis

Dr Mohammed is interested in examining the structure, function and ligand identification of CLEC14A and CD248 (in collaboration with Professors Roy Bicknell and Chris Buckley), a group of receptors that are heavily implicated in tumour angiogenesis and progression. This is likely to facilitate design of small molecule drugs as novel anti-angiogenic therapeutics for cancer.

Other activities

He is also closely affiliated with the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Centre (CIIC) with a major role in developing and maintaining the CIIC website.

Finally, he sits on the University of Birmingham Protein Expression Facility Advisory Board.


Recent publications


Karunakaran, MM, Subramanian, H, Jin, Y, Mohammed, F, Kimmel, B, Juraske, C, Starick, L, Nöhren, A, Länder, N, Willcox, CR, Singh, R, Schamel, WW, Nikolaev, VO, Kunzmann, V, Wiemer, AJ, Willcox, BE & Herrmann, T 2023, 'A distinct topology of BTN3A IgV and B30.2 domains controlled by juxtamembrane regions favors optimal human γδ T cell phosphoantigen sensing', Nature Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 7617 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-41938-8

Degirmencay, A, Thomas, S, Mohammed, F, Willcox, BE & Stauss, HJ 2023, 'Modifications outside CDR1, 2 and 3 of the TCR variable β domain increase TCR expression and antigen-specific function', Frontiers in immunology, vol. 14, 1148890. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2023.1148890

Willcox, CR, Salim, M, Begley, CR, Karunakaran, MM, Easton, EJ, von Klopotek, C, Berwick, KA, Herrmann, T, Mohammed, F, Jeeves, M & Willcox, BE 2023, 'Phosphoantigen sensing combines TCR-dependent recognition of the BTN3A IgV domain and germline interaction with BTN2A1', Cell Reports, vol. 42, no. 4, 112321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112321

Molostvov, G, Gachechiladze, M, Shaaban, AM, Hayward, S, Dean, I, Dias, IHK, Badr, N, Danial, I, Mohammed, F, Novitskaya, V, Paniushkina, L, Speirs, V, Hanby, A, Nazarenko, I, Withers, DR, van Laere, S, Long, HM & Berditchevski, F 2023, 'Tspan6 stimulates the chemoattractive potential of breast cancer cells for B cells in an EV- and LXR-dependent manner', Cell Reports, vol. 42, no. 3, 112207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112207

Mohammed, F, Odintsova, E & Chidgey, M 2022, 'Missense Mutations in Desmoplakin Plakin Repeat Domains Have Dramatic Effects on Domain Structure and Function', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 23, no. 1, 529. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23010529

Walters, LC, Rozbesky, D, Harlos, K, Quastel, M, Sun, H, Springer, S, Rambo, RP, Mohammed, F, Jones, EY, McMichael, AJ & Gillespie, GM 2022, 'Primary and secondary functions of HLA-E are determined by stability and conformation of the peptide-bound complexes', Cell Reports, vol. 39, no. 11, 110959. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110959

McMurray, J, von Borstel, A, Taher, T, Syrimi, E, Taylor, G, Sharif, M, Rossjohn, J, Remmerswaal, E, Bemelman, F, Vieira Braga, FA, Chen, X, Teichmann, SA, Mohammed, F, Berry, A, Lyke, K, Williamson, K, Stubbington, M, Davey, M, Willcox, C & Willcox, B 2022, 'Transcriptional profiling of human Vδ1 T cells reveals a pathogen-driven adaptive differentiation program', Cell Reports, vol. 39, no. 8, 110858. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110858

Odintsova, E, Mohammed, F, Trieber, C, Rodriguez-Zamora, P, Al-Jassa, C, Huang, T-H, Fogl, C, Knowles, T, Sridhar, P, Kumar, J, Jeeves, M, Chidgey, M & Overduin, M 2020, 'Binding of the periplakin linker requires vimentin acidic residues D176 and E187', Communications Biology, vol. 3, no. 1, 83. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-0810-y

Karunakaran, MM, Willcox, CR, Salim, M, Paletta, D, Fichtner, AS, Noll, A, Starick, L, Nöhren, A, Begley, CR, Berwick, KA, Chaleil, RAG, Pitard, V, Déchanet-merville, J, Bates, PA, Kimmel, B, Knowles, TJ, Kunzmann, V, Walter, L, Jeeves, M, Mohammed, F, Willcox, BE & Herrmann, T 2020, 'Butyrophilin-2A1 directly binds germline-encoded regions of the Vγ9Vδ2 TCR and is essential for phosphoantigen sensing', Immunity, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 487-498.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2020.02.014

Mohammed, F, Trieber, C, Overduin, M & Chidgey, M 2020, 'Molecular mechanism of intermediate filament recognition by plakin proteins', Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. Molecular Cell Research, vol. 1867, no. 11, 118801. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2020.118801

Willcox, CR, Mohammed, F & Willcox, BE 2020, 'The distinct MHC‐unrestricted immunobiology of innate‐like and adaptive‐like human γδ T cell subsets—Nature's CAR‐T cells', Immunological Reviews, vol. 298, no. 1, pp. 25-46. https://doi.org/10.1111/imr.12928

Willcox, BE, Mohammed, F & Willcox, CR 2020, 'γδ TCR Recognition of MR1: Adapting to Life on the Flip Side', Trends in Biochemical Sciences, vol. 45, no. 7, pp. 551-553. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tibs.2020.03.012

Willcox, C, Vantourout, P, Salim, M, Zlatareva, I, Melandri, D, Zanardo, L, George, R, Kjaer, S, Jeeves, M, Mohammed, F, Hayday, AC & Willcox, B 2019, 'Butyrophilin-like 3 directly binds a human Vγ4+ t cell receptor using a modality distinct from clonally-restricted antigen', Immunity, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 813-825.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2019.09.006

Review article

Mohammed, F & Chidgey, M 2021, 'Desmosomal protein structure and function and the impact of disease-causing mutations', Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 213, no. 3, 107749. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsb.2021.107749

Khan, KA, McMurray, JL, Mohammed, F & Bicknell, R 2019, 'C-type lectin domain group 14 proteins in vascular biology, cancer and inflammation', The FEBS journal, vol. 286, no. 17, pp. 3299-3332. https://doi.org/10.1111/febs.14985

View all publications in research portal