Bilal Mir, Postdoctoral researcher
Our research interest is to understand how genetic variation influences skeletal muscle function and metabolism. We have conducted an eQTL screen (WGS and RNAseq) in undifferentiated myoblasts, myotubes and muscle biopsies from the MSAT study. This will help in identifying regulatory eQTLs and differences in transcription factor expression, miRNA expression and other possible underlying molecular signatures to describe the mechanism behind that particular eQTL. Moreover, miRNAs involved in meat traits will be tested for their role in human muscle insulin resistance. Eventually, these will help finding a therapeutics for alleviating insulin resistance, thereby, helping type 2 diabetes individuals.
Qualified with a PhD in skeletal muscle physiology and molecular biology, MSc in Biochemistry and BSc in Biosciences, and over seven years’ experience in molecular biology fields including myogenesis, muscle growth, repair and regeneration. During my period as a research assistant at Yeungnam University, I investigated the role of Transthyretin (TTR), a carrier protein of Thyroxine (T4) in blood and retinol binding protein in CSF, in myogenesis and confirmed that TTR is highly expressed during differentiation of bovine primary muscle cells and its knockdown resulted in decreased myotube formation in addition to downregulation of mRNA and protein levels of myogenic genes. In my PhD studies, I examined the role and regulation of NDRG2, a stress responsive gene, in skeletal muscle cells and tissues. My projects looked at identifying novel regulators of NDRG2 using predicted miRNAs targeting the 3’UTR in myotubes and understanding NDRG2’s role in skeletal muscle hypertrophy and atrophy in vivo by overexpression studies following intramuscular injection, using AAVs, into TA muscle of mice. Furthermore, the impact of increased NDRG2 levels during fasting and formoterol-induced hypertrophy in skeletal muscle was investigated. In addition, I also examined the protective effect of NDRG2 overexpression against oxidative and ER stress in skeletal muscle of SOD1G93A mice, a mouse model of motor neuron disease, ALS. Interested in to finding therapeutic targets for diabetic muscle with insulin resistance from interesting small molecules, miRNAs. During postdoc at Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal biology in Germany, I identified (through microarray screen) miRNAs and their target genes involved in differential intramuscular fat accumulation in bovine muscle.