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Dr. Muhammad Tahir
Head of Department
Plant Biotechnology

ASAB
National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST)
H-12 Sector, Islamabad, Pakistan 44000
Tel : +92-051-9085-6131; Cell +92 322 4415661

Specialization
Artificial microRNA based gene silencing; Begomoviruses (Cotton, Tomato), Barley yellow dwarf virus, Sugarcane mosaic virus; Plant transformation; Development of antibodies against Begomoviruses

Education
Post-Doctorate: Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA. PhD: School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan and DSMZ, Braunschweig, Germany

Dr. Muhammad Tahir received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, with a specialization in Molecular Plant Virology, from University of The Punjab, Lahore Pakistan during 2009. He joined, most prestigious Institution, DSMZ (Deutsche Sammlung von. Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH) Brausnschwerig Germany, for the completion of his PhD. He has been a research associate from 2009-2010 at School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab in a project entitled “Novel approach to generate wide spectrum resistance to allcotton begomoviruses infecting cotton and other cultivated crops”. During 2010, he joined the NUST as an Assistant Professor. Along with teaching and research, he is serving as HoD plant Biotechnology.

1. Research Productivity Award (2015) by Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan.

2.      Best Researcher Award of the year 2014 by National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan

3.      Awarded "The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship 2014" the University of Arizona was the host University.

4.      Awarded "Dr. Abdus Salam Prize" in Biology for tye year 2010

5.     Submitted first full length sequence of Barley yellow dwarf virus (a wheat virus), from Pakistan, to the databases.

6.      Produced begomoviral infectious clones for the first time in Pakistan.

7.      Discovered three new species of begomoviruses from Local area and suggested name to ICTV as “Pepper leaf curl Lahore virus”, “Pedilanthus leaf curl virus” and “Bitter gourd yellow vein virus”.

8.   Selected for RCA summer school 2008, among twelve around the world, Universität Stuttgart, BiologischesInstitut Abt. fürMolekularbiologie und Virologie der PflanzenPfaffenwaldring 57 D-70550 Stuttgart, Germany.

9.  Awarded foreign training scholarship (January 2008 to June 2008) to work in Germany by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

10.  Awarded foreign scholarship to attend a virology conference in Brazil (May, 2007) by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

11.  Winner of the KSBMB Travel Award/Fellowship for the 19th FAOBMB Seoul Conference held in Seoul (May 27-30, 2007), Republic of Korea.

12.  Selected as Young Scientist to attend “20th IUBMB International Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and 11th FAOBMB Congress on Life: Molecular Integration & Biological Diversity” held on June 18-23, 2006 at Kyoto, Japan.

13. Awarded “Roll of Honour” in M.Sc final examinations.

The research interests are covering both basic and applied problems in plant virology and plant virus diagnosis.

Ø  A main interest is in the tropical plant viruses, plant - virus - vector interactions and specifically the identification and validation of resistant genes by knockdown experiments.

Ø  Along with, the focus is on begomoviruses, Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) and Citrus Tristeza virus (CTV) diversity, multiple transgenic resistance(s) in significant cash crops and development of antibodies against them.

Ø  A curiosity is to standardize a protocol for Agrobacterium mediated wheat/sugarcane transformation and to develop transgenic resistance in model plant system targeting Barley yellow dwarf virus, Sugarcane mosaic virus and Citrus tristeza virus.

Ø  A great intension is the utilization of plant system for the development of vaccines against human viral diseases.

Research Grants Awarded: 


Sugarcane productivity enhancement by development of transgenic virus resistance through expression of hairpin RNA (hpRNA) carrying Sugarcane mosaic virus derived sequences. (funding agency, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan; $54,000; 2017-2020; Submitted as PI).


Development of cotton-infecting begomoviral induced cell death via a modified betasatellite containing the Cyt c gene and monoclonal antibodies against begomovirues. (funding agency, United States Dept. of Agriculture- International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area; 2013-2015. $292,000/-Submitted as PI).

Development and validation of transgenic virus resistance in Nicotianabenthamiana by expression of artificial microRNA (amiRNA) carrying begomovirus (Tomato leaf curl New Delhi Virus) derived sequences (funding agency, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan; 2012- 2014. $62,000; Submitted as PI)

PAK-US Research Grants Submitted:

1.      Development and validation of cotton-infecting begomoviral induced cell death via a modified betasatellite containing the Cyt c gene, and whitefly RNAi-mediated knockouts, in a model study plant

2.      Development of amiRNA Strategies to Generate Broad-spectrum Resistance to Begomoviruses and Their Satellites

3.      Productivity enhancement by development of transgenic virus resistant sugarcane through expression of artificial microRNA (amiRNA) carrying Sugarcane mosaic virus derived sequences

Complete Viral Sequences Submitted to the Databases:


Barley yellow dwarf virus
HE985229    Barley yellow dwarf virus-PAV

Hollyhock yellow vein mosaic Islamabad virus
LK028571     Hollyhock yellow vein mosaic Islamabad virus-[Pakistan:Islamabad:2014] (HYVMIV-[PK:Isb:14]). DNA A Complete genome
LK028572     Kenaf leaf curl betasatellite-[Pakistan:Islamabad:Hollyhock:2014] (KLCB[PK:Isb:Hol:14]). DNA betasatellite Complete genome
LM645009    Hollyhock yellow vein mosaic Islamabad virus-[Pakistan:Islamabad:2014] (HYVMIV-[PK:Isb:14]). DNA  A Complete genome

Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus
HE985227    Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus-[Pakistan:Okara:Ricinus communis:2012] (CLCuBuV-[PK:Oka:Ric:12). DNA A Complete genome
He985228    Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite-[Pakistan:Okara:Ricinus communis:2012] (CLCuMB-[PK:Oka:Ric:12). Betasatellite, Complete genome
Hf549182    Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus-Pak[Pakistan:Layyah:2011] (CLCuBuV-PK[PK:Lay:11). DNA A Complete genome
HG000665    Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite-[Pakistan:Layyah:2011] (CLCuMB-[PK:Lay:11). Betasatellite, Complete genome
HF549180    Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus-[Pakistan:Faisalabad28:2010] (CLCuBuV-[PK:Fsd28:10). DNA A Complete genome
HF549185    Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite-[Pakistan:Faisalabad28:2010] (CLCuMB-[PK:Fsd28:10). Betasatellite, Complete genome
HF549181    Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus-[Pakistan:Faisalabad32:2010] (CLCuBuV-[PK:Fsd32:10). DNA A Complete genome
HF549186    Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite-[Pakistan:Faisalabad32:2010] (CLCuMB-[PK:Fsd32:10). Betasatellite, Complete genome
HF549183    Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus-[Pakistan:Bhakkar:2011] (CLCuBuV-[PK:Bha:11). DNA A Complete genome
HF549187    Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite-[Pakistan:Bhakkar:2011] (CLCuMB-[PK:Bha:11). Betasatellite, Complete genome
HF549184    Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus-[Pakistan:Okara:2011] (CLCuBuV-[PK:Oka:11). DNA A Complete genome
HF549188    Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite-[Pakistan:Okara:2011] (CLCuMB-[PK:Oka:11). Betasatellite, Complete genome

Cestrum yellow leaf curl virus
LM645010   Cestrum yellow leaf curl virus-[Pakistan:Islamabad:2014] ([CYLCV-[PK:Isb:14]. DNA A complete genome
Lm645011   Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus-[Pakistan:Islamabad:2014] ([ToLCNDV-[PK:Isb:Ces14]. DNA B complete genome

Clerodendron yellow mosaic virus
HE863667    Clerodendron yellow mosaic virus-[Pakistan:Lahore:Croton:2012] (CleYMV-[PK:LHR:Cro:12). DNA A Complete genome

Pedilanthus leaf curl virus
AM712436    Pedilathus leaf curl virus-Pedilanthus [Pakistan:Multan:2004] (PedLCV-Ped[ PK:Mul:04]). DNA A Complete genome
AM260465    Tobacco leaf curl betasatellite-[Pakistan:Multan:Pedilanthus:2004] (TbLCBS-[PK:Mul:Ped:04]). Betasatellite. Complete sequence

Pepper leaf curl Lahore virus
AM404179    Pepper leaf curl Lahore virus-[Pakistan:Lahore1:2004] (PepLCLV-[PK:Lah1:04]). DNA A. Complete genome.
AM260466    Chilli leaf curl betasatellite [Pakistan:Lahore1:2004] (ChLCB-[PK:Lah1:04]). Betasatellite. Complete sequence
AM491589    Pepper leaf curl Lahore virus-[Pakistan:Lahore2:2004] (PepLCLV-[PK:Lah2:04]). DNA A. Complete genome.
AM258978    Chilli leaf curl betasatellite [Pakistan:Lahore2:2004] (ChLCB-[PK:Lah2:04]). Betasatellite. Complete sequence
AM849549    Chilli leaf curl betasatellite [Pakistan:Sahiwal:2006] (ChLCB-[PK:Sw:06]). Betasatellite. Complete sequence

Bitter gourd yellow vein virus
AM491590    Bitter gourd yellow vein virus [Pakistan:Lahore:Momordica charantia:2005] (BGYVV-IN[PK:Lah:Mom:05]). DNA A. Complete genome
AM709505    Bitter gourd yellow vein virus [Pakistan:Lahore:Momordica charantia:2005] (BGYVV-IN[PK:Lah:Mom:05]). DNA B. Complete genome
 
Ageratum enation virus   
AM698011    Ageratum enation virus - [Pakistan:Lahore: 2006] (AEV-[PK:Lah:06]) DNA A. Complete genome
AM698010    Ageratum yellow leaf curl betasatellite [Pakistan:Lahore:2006] (AYLCB-[PK:Lah:06]). Betasatellite, Complete sequence
AM261836    Ageratum enation virus - [Pakistan:Lahore:Sonchus oleraceous:2005] (AEV-[PK:Lah:Sol:05]) DNA A. Complete genome
AM412239    Ageratum yellow leaf curl betasatellite [Pakistan:Lahore,Sonchus oleraceous:2005] (AYLCB-[PK:Lah:Sol:05]) Betasatellite, Complete sequence

Squash leaf curl China virus
AM286794    Squash leaf curl China virus-India [Pakistan:Lahore:2005] (SLCCNV-IN[PK:Lah:05]). DNA A. Complete genome
AM778959    Squash leaf curl China virus-India [Pakistan:Lahore:2005] (SLCCNV-IN[PK:Lah:05]). DNA B. Complete genome

Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus
AM258977        Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus-India [Pakistan:Lahore:2004] ToLCNDV-IN[PK:Lah:04] DNA A. Complete genome
AM778833         Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus-India [Pakistan:Lahore:2004] ToLCNDV-IN[PK:Lah:04]. DNA-B, Complete genome
AM747291        Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus - India [Pakistan:Multan:Momordica:2005] (ToLCNDV-IN[PK:Mul:Mom:05]). DNA A. Complete genome
AM849547        Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus - India [Pakistan:Multan:Momordica charantia:2005] (ToLCNDV-IN[PK:Mul:Mom:05]) DNA B. Complete genome
AM292302        Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus-India [Pakistan:Multan:Luffa:2004] (ToLCNDV-IN[PK:Mul:Luf:04) DNA A. Complete genome
AM849548        Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus - India [Pakistan:Lahore:Solanum nigrum:2004] (ToLCNDV-IN[PK:Lah:Sn:04]). DNA A. Complete genome
AM392426        Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus - India [Pakistan:Multan:Duranta repens:2005] (ToLCNDV-IN[PK:Mul:Dr:05]) DNA B. Complete genome.


Selected International Conference Presentation

Ø  Tahir, M., Brown, J.K. (2014). Development and validation of cotton infecting begomoviral induced cell death via. a modified betasatellite containing the cytochrome c gene.   Poster presentation held on Nov 10, 2014 at University of Arizona, USA.

Ø  Tahir, M., Briddon, R. W. (2011). Satisfying Koch’s postulates for Ageratum enation virus. Presented as anOral presentation in “International Conference and Exhibition on Virology” held during Sept 05-07, 2011at Baltimore,USA.

Ø  Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., Iqbal. J.,andBriddon, R. W. (2008). Complete nucleotide sequence and phylogeneticanalysis of the bipartite begomovirus squash leaf curl China virus infecting Cucurbitapepoin Pakistan.Presented as Poster Presentation in 6th Canadian Plant genomics Workshop, held on June 23-26, 2008 atToronto, Ontario. Canada.

Ø  Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., Briddon, R. W. (2007). Ageratum enation virus causes yellow vein disease ofSonchusoleraceus. Presented as Oral presentation in “5th International Geminivirus Symposium and 3rdInternational ssDNA Comparative Virology Workshop” held on May 20-26, 2007 at OuroPreto, Brazil.

Ø  Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., Akhtar, M and Briddon, R. W. (2007). A new species of begomovirus “Pepper leafcurl Lahore virus” infecting Capsicum annuumvar. grossum under natural conditions. 5th InternationalGeminivirus Symposium, (May 20 to 26, 2007) OuroPreto, Brazil.

Ø  Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., Briddon, R. W. (2006). Presence of natural reservoirs for “Cotton leaf curl virus”outside the cotton growing regions of Pakistan. Presented as poster presentation in “20th IUBMBInternational Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and 11th FAOBMB Congress on Life:Molecular Integration & Biological Diversity” held on June 18-23, 2006 at Kyoto, Japan.

Ø  Tahir, M. and Haider, M. S.(2005) A new species of Begomovirus infecting Capsicum annuum var. grossum(Bell pepper) and prevalence of Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus in Momordicacharantiaand Ecliptaprostrataunder natural conditions of Pakistan. Presented as an oral presentation for '2nd Joint Conferenceof the International Working Groups on Legume (IWGLV) and Vegetable Viruses (IWGVV)' held in April10-14, 2005 at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.



Shuja, M.N., Tahir, M., and Briddon, R.W. (2017). Occurrence of a recombinant molecule carrying sequences derived from an alphasatellite and the helper virus in cotton leaf curl disease affected cotton. Tropical Plant Pathology. doi. 10.1007/s40858-017-0161-5

Ali, M., Tahir, M., and Hameed, S. (2017). Phylogenetic and genome wide pairwise distance analysis of the Genus Luteovirus. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 54: 363-371.

Akbar, S., Tahir, M. and Shahid Afghan, S. (2017). Characterization of coat protein (CP) gene of Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) from isolates of Pakistan and its phylogenetic relationships. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences. 27: 268-276

Akbar, S., Tahir, M., Wang, Ming-Bo, Liu, Q. (2017). Expression Analysis of Hairpin RNA Carrying Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) Derived Sequences and Transgenic Resistance Development in a Model Rice Plant. BioMed Research International. doi.org/10.1155/2017/1646140.

Ahmed, S.I., Hayat, M.Q., Tahir, M., Mansoor, Q., Ismail, M., Keck, K., and Robert Bates, R.B. (2016). Pharmacologically active flavonoids from the anticancer, antioxidant and antimicrobial extracts of Cassia angustifolia Vahl. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 16: 460. DOI 10.1186/s12906-016-1443-z

Ali, M., Tahir, M., Hameed, S. (2016). Genetic transformation of an elite commercial wheat variety through Agrobacterium tumefaciens. International Journal of Biosciences 08: 17-24.

Tahir, M., Amin, I,. Haider, M.S., Mansoor, S., Briddon, R.W. (2015). Ageratum enation virus – a begomovirus of weeds with the potential to infect crops. Viruses 07: 647-65. doi: 10.3390/v7020647.

Mustujab, A., Briddon, R.W., Tahir, M. (2014). First report of Catharanthus yellow mosaic virus infecting Duranta repens in Pakistan. Journal of Plant Pathology doi: 10.4454/JPP.V97I1.038.

Babar, M.M., Zaidi, N.S., Tahir, M. (2014). Global geno-proteomic analysis reveals cross-continental sequence conservation and druggable sites among influenza virus polymerases. Antiviral Research. 112:120-131.

Ali, M., Hameed, S, Tahir, M. (2014). Luteovirus - insights into pathogenicity. Archives of Virology. 159: 2853-2860.

Shuja,.M.N., Briddon, R.W., Tahir. M. (2014). Identification of a distinct strain of Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus. Archives of Virology. 159: 2787-2790.

Ikram, A, Anjum, S. and Tahir, M. (2014). In silico identification and conservation analysis of B and T cell epitopes of HCV 3a E2 protein from Pakistan, A step towards hetrologus vaccine design. Hepatitis monthly. ( DOI: 10.5812/hepatmon.9832)

Ali, M., Tahir, M., Hameed, S., Ashraf, S. (2013). Coat protein based molecular characterization of Barley yellow dwarf virus isolates identified on oat plants in Pakistan. Acta Virologica 57:383 - 385.

Anwar, S., Tahir, M., Zaidi, N.S.S., Briddon, R. W. (2012). First report of Clerodendron yellow mosaic virus infecting Croton. Journal of plant Pathology (Accepted).

M.I. Fareed, Tahir, M., Briddon, R. W. (2012). First report of Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus infecting Ricinuscommunis. Journal of plant Pathology (Accepted).

Tahir, M., Briddon, R.W. (2011). Satisfying Koch’s postulates for Ageratum enation virus. Proceedings of Journal of Antivirals and Antiretrovirals3 (4): 185.

Fatima, K., Tahir, M., and Qadri, I. (2011). Development of robust in vitro serine protease assay based on recombinant Pakistani HCV NS3-4A protease. Virus Research 160: 230-237.

Haider, M.S., Afghan, S., Riaz, H., Tahir, M., Javed, I., Rashid, N., and Iqbal, J. (2011). Identification of two sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) variants from naturally infected sugarcane crop in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany 43 (2): 1157-1162.

Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., and Briddon, R. W. (2010). Complete nucleotide sequences of Bitter gourd yellow vein virus and its associated betasatellite infecting Momordicacharantia. Archives of Virology 155: 1901-1905.

Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., and Briddon, R. W. (2010). Chili leaf curl betasatellite is associated with a distinct recombinant begomovirus, Pepper leaf curl Lahore virus, in Capsicum in Pakistan. Virus Research 149: 109-114.

Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., and Briddon, R. W. (2010). First report of Squash leaf curl China virus in Pakistan. Australasian Plant Disease Note 5: 21-24.

Tahir, M., Haider, M. S., Iqbal, J., and Briddon, R.W. (2009). Association of a distinct begomovirus and betasatellite with leaf curl symptoms of Pedilanthustithymaloides. Journal of Phytopathology 157: 188-193.

Shah, A. H., Rashid, N., Haider, M. S., Saleem, F., Tahir, M., Iqbal, J. (2009). An efficient, short and cost effective regeneration system for transformation studies of Sugarcane (SaccharumofficinarumL.). Pakistan Journal of Botany 41(2): 609-614.

Haider, M. S., Tahir, M., Saeed, A., Ahmad, S, Parveen, R and Rashid, N. (2008). First report of a begomovirus infecting the ornamental plant Vinca minor L. Australasian Plant Disease Notes 3: 150–151.

Haider, M. S., Tahir, M., Evans, A.A.F. and Markham, P.G. (2007). Coat protein gene sequence analysis of three begomovirus isolates from Pakistan and their affinities with other begomoviruses. Pakistan Journal of Zoology 39: 165-170

Tahir, M., Haider, M.S., Shah, A. H., Rashid, N., and Saleem, F. (2006). First report of bipartite begomovirus associated with leaf curl disease of Durantarepensin Pakistan. Journal of Plant pathology 88: 337.

Tahir, M. and Haider, M.S. (2006). Naturally occurring bipartite strains of begomoviruses affect some members of Cucurbitaceaefamily inside and outside the cotton zone in Pakistan. Cucurbitaceaeproceedings 2006, (Sep. 17-21) North Carolina State University, USA. p 527-533.

Haider, M. S., Tahir, M., Latif, S. and Briddon, R. W. (2006). First report of Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus infecting Ecliptaprostratain Pakistan. Plant Pathology 55: 285.

Tahir, M. and Haider, M. S. (2006). First report of a begomovirus associated with leaf curl disease of bell pepper in Pakistan. Plant Pathology 55: 570.

Tahir, M. and Haider, M. S. (2005). First report of Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus infecting bitter gourd in Pakistan. Plant Pathology 54: 807.

Afghan, S, Haider, M. S., Shah, A. H., Rashid, N., Iqbal, J., Tahir M. and Akhtar, M. (2005) Detection of genetic diversity among sugarcane (Saccharumsp.) genotypes using Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA markers. Sugarcane International Journal 23: 17-21.

He has been teaching Virology course in School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab. In NUST, He is teaching Plant Virology, Virological Laboratory Techniques and Molecular Techniques in Diagnostics at graduate and post graduate levels in NUST.

Sugarcane Mills, Agriculture sector for the development of virus free crop plant by tissue culture and to develop transgenic plants