Professor Nuzhat Ahmed

  • Honorary Research Associate
  • Adjunct Ovarian Cancer Principal Research Fellow
  • Department of Molecular and Translational Science, Monash University
  • Role: Honorary Research Associate

Professor Nuzhat Ahmed is an experienced cell and molecular biologist with a long-standing interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms of ovarian cancer spread.  She did her postdoctoral research training in Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, New Zealand, University of Newcastle, Australia and University of British Columbia in Canada. From 2002-2014, Prof Ahmed led the Ovarian Cancer Research Group in Women’s Cancer Research Centre, Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. Her significant contribution has been in establishing the novel interaction of cell adhesion molecules with the signalling pathways in cancer, and identifying early-stage biomarkers for ovarian cancer screening. These studies have led to several international patent applications and publications in reputable cancer journals.

Her recent work has focused in understanding the mechanisms of survival of ovarian cancer cells in response to chemotherapy treatment and the re-growth of these cells to cause clinical recurrence. These studies have utilized isolated tumor cells (primary and also from ascites) from patients diagnosed with the advanced-stage disease to model profiles of genes/proteins associated with platinum and taxol-based drug responses.   These studies have led to recent publications in several international reputed cancer journals.  Prof Ahmed has a long-standing interest in understanding the immune cell irregularities in ovarian cancer patients.

Prof Ahmed has supervised several Honours and PhD students and her work has been presented at national and international meetings, as well as reported on news editorials.  She has several local and international collaborations.

Selected publications

  • Ahmed N, Escalona R, Leung D, Chan E, Kannourakis G (2018)  Tumour microenvironment and metabolic plasticity in cancer and cancer stem cells:  perspectives on metabolic and immune regulatory signatures in chemoresistant ovarian cancer stem cells.  Seminars in Cancer Biology 53:265-281.

  • Samardzija C, Greening D, Escalona RM, Chen M, Bilandzic M, Luwor R, Kannourakis G, Findlay JK, Ahmed N (2017) Knockdown of stem cell regulator Oct4A in ovarian cancer reveals cellular reprogramming associated with key regulators of cytoskeleton-extracellular matrix remodeling. Scientific Reports 7:46312.

  • Ahmed N, Greening D, Samardzija C, Escalona RM, Chen M, Findlay JK,  Kannourakis G (2016) Unique proteome signature of post-chemotherapy ovarian cancer ascites-derived tumor cellsScientific Reports 6:30061.

  • Samardzija C, Luwor RB, Quinn MA, Kannourakis G, Findlay JK, Ahmed N (2016) Coalition of Oct4A and β1 integrins in facilitating metastasis in ovarian cancer. BMC Cancer 16:432.

  • Samardzija C, Luwor R, Volchek M, Quinn M, Findlay J, Ahmed N (2015) A critical role of Oct4A in mediating metastasis and disease-free survival in a mouse model of ovarian cancer. Molecular Cancer 14:152.

  • Abubaker K, Latifi A, Chan E, Luwor RB, Burns CJ, Thompson EW, Findlay JK, Ahmed N (2015) Enhanced activation of STAT3 in ascites-derived recurrent ovarian tumors: inhibition of cisplatin-induced STAT3 activation reduced tumorigenicity of ovarian cancer by a loss of cancer stem cell-like characteristics. Journal of Cancer Stem Cell Research 3: e1001.

  • Latifi A, Escalona R, Quinn MA, Thompson EW, Findlay JK, Ahmed N (2014) Distinct molecular signature of recurrent ovarian tumor cells isolated from the ascites of advanced-stage serous ovarian cancer patients. Journal of Cancer Stem Cell Research 2:e1006.

  • Bilandzic M, Wang Y, Ahmed N, Luwor RB, Zhu HJ, TaFindlay JK, Stenvers KL (2014) Betaglycan blocks metastatic behaviors in human granulosa cell tumors by suppressing NFkB-mediated induction of MMP2. Cancer Lett, 354 (1):107-14.

  • Abubaker K, Luwor RB, Escalona R, McNally O, Quinn MA, Thompson EW, Findlay JK, Ahmed N (2014) Targeted disruption of JAK2/STAT3 pathway in combination with systemic administration of paclitaxel inhibits the priming of ovarian cancer stem cells leading to a reduced tumor burden. Front Oncol 4:75.

  • Abubaker K, Luwor RB, Hongjian Z, Orla M, Quinn MA, Burns JC, Thompson EW, Findlay JK, Ahmed N (2014) Inhibition of the JAK2/STAT3 pathway in ovarian cancer results in the loss of cancer stem cell-like characteristics and a reduced tumor burden. BMC Cancer 14:217.

  • Kumar J, Fraser FW, Riley C, Ahmed N, McCulloch DR, Ward AC (2014) Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor signalling via Janus kinase 2/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 in ovarian cancer. Br J Cancer 110 (1):133-45.

  • Abubaker K, Latifi A, Luwor  R, Nazaretian  S, Zhu  H, Quinn M, Thompson E, Findlay J, Ahmed  N (2013) Short-term single treatment of chemotherapy results in the enrichment of ovarian cancer stem cell-like cells leading to an increased tumor burden.  Molecular Cancer 12:24.

  • Latifi A, Luwor RB, Bilandzic M, Nazaretian S, Stenvers K, Pyman J, Zhu H, Thompson EW, Quinn MA, Findlay JK, Ahmed N (2012) Isolation and characterization of tumor cells from the ascites of ovarian cancer patients: molecular phenotype of chemoresistant ovarian tumors. PloS One 7(10):e46858.