Athar Chishti, PhD


Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology



BS, Biochemistry, AM University
PhD, Biochemistry, University of Melbourne
Postdoctoral Training, Harvard University


Campus: Boston
Office: Jaharis 714
Laboratory: Jaharis 701A

Contact Information

Office Phone: 617-636-3457
Lab Phone: 617-636-2103
E-mail   Send an e-mail 


Research Web Site  Lab Research Page
Recent Publications  Abstract in PubMed

Graduate Programs

Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology, Cellular & Molecular PhysiologyMolecular Microbiology,  Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics 


Research Synopsis

My primary research interest is in the assembly and regulation of the mammalian cytoskeleton. We study the function of cytoskeletal and signaling proteins in diseases that afflict blood cells. Current topics of interest include: (1) Molecular mechanisms of malaria parasite invasion in human red blood cells. We identified erythrocyte Band 3 (anion exchanger-1) and Glycophorin A complex as a crucial receptor for multiple malaria parasite surface proteins. Currently, we are investigating additional components of the parasite invasion complex and its functional effect on the host cytoskeleton. Identification of Plasmodium falciparum ligands and their cognate host receptors is considered essential for the development of new drugs and vaccines against malaria, a disease that kills nearly 700,000 people each year, and the majority of these deaths occur in young children in sub-Saharan Africa. (2) Characterization of guanylate kinase homologues involved in cell polarity signaling pathways. These scaffolding proteins termed MAGUKs (Membrane Associated Guanylate Kinase homologues) regulate multiple protein-protein assemblies in many cell types. Using genetically modified mouse models, our goal is to elucidate the mechanism(s) of intracellular trafficking of membrane proteins, lipids, and vesicles to specific subcellular sites via the kinesin motors. Major components of this pathway, designated as p55/MPP1, hDLG, and GAKIN/KIF13B, were first identified and cloned in my laboratory. (3) We generated the first mouse models of calpain-1 and dematin deficiency, thus contributing to the mechanisms of platelet phosphotyrosine phosphatase-1B (PTP1B) regulation, membrane receptor coupling to the cytoskeleton, and calcium mobilization. These findings are relevant to cell secretion, adhesion, motility, and apoptosis pathways.


Lab Members

Haifa Almukadi, PhD Student in Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Daniel Fritz, PhD Student in Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology  Send an e-mail Lab Research Page
Toshihiko Hanada, Research Assistant Professor Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Shreeya Hedge, MS Student in Pharmacology & Drug Development Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Maima Kaiser, MS Student in Pharmacology & Drug Development Send an e-mail Lab Research Page
Donna-Marie Mironchuk, Lab Manager Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Farha Mithila, PREP Scholar Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Christopher Schwake, PhD Student in Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page

Apply to the Sackler School


The priority application deadlines are as follows:

December 1: Basic Science Division PhD Programs

February 15: Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences

March 31: Post-Baccalaureate Research Program

May 1: Clinical & Translational Science, MS in Pharmacology & Drug Development

June 15: Online Certificate in Fundamentals of Clinical Care Research