Professor in Dermatology

423 Medical Sciences Center

Research Interests:Skin Cancer. Molecular mechanism of ultraviolet radiation-mediated carcinogenesis; signal transduction in tumor promotion and prevention.


The major focus of my laboratory is Prostate, Breast and Skin Cancers. Our research pursues three major lines of investigation; i) Mechanism of cancer development and identification of molecular targets for intervention, ii) Chemoprevention of cancer by plant-based agents, and iii) Complementary and Alternative Approaches for the prevention and treatment of skin cancer. We are studying the molecular mechanism(s) of ultraviolet (UV) radiation-mediated cutaneous damages. We also study the potential of resveratrol (trans-3, 5, 4-trihydroxystilbene), an antioxidant found in grapes, red wines and a variety of nuts and berries, for the prevention/treatment of skin cancer. Our work has shown the involvement of i) cki-cyclin-cdk network, and MAPK-pathway, ii) Survivin signaling in photoprotective effects of resveratrol in vivo. We have shown that resveratrol prevents UVB exposure-mediated skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 hairless mice.

My laboratory also studies the chemopreventive/therapeutic potential of melatonin, a pineal hormone and a strong antioxidant, in the management of cancer. Another aim is to define the role of the Polo-Like Kinase (PLK) family of mitotic kinases in the development of prostate and skin cancers. Further, we are investigating the role of sirtuin (SIRT) proteins that belong to the family of type III histone deacetylases (HDAC’s), in cancer development. This research has indicated that SIRT proteins are overexpressed in prostate cancer and may possibly serve as a novel target for the development of therapeutics as well as potential biomarkers for prostate cancer.

  • Jung-Hynes B, Schmit TL, Reagan-Shaw SR, Siddiqui IA, Mukhtar H, and Ahmad N. Melatonin is a novel Sirt1 inhibitor and imparts anti-proliferative effects against PCa in vitro in cell culture and in vivo in transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model. Submitted
  • Jung-Hynes B, Huang W, Reiter R and Ahmad N. Melatonin resynchronizes dysregulated circadian rhythm circuitry in human prostate cancer cells. J Pineal Research. 2010 Ahead of Press
  • Schmit TL, Ledesma MC, and Ahmad N. Modulating Polo-Like Kinase 1 as a Means for Cancer Chemoprevention. Pharm Res. 2010 Jan 27. Ahead of Press
  • Schmit TL, Zhong W, Setaluri V, Spiegelman VS, and Ahmad N. Targeted depletion of Polo-like kinase (Plk) 1 through lentiviral shRNA or a small-molecule inhibitor causes mitotic catastrophe and induction of apoptosis in human melanoma cells. J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Dec;129(12):2843-53.
  • Jung-Hynes B, Reiter R and Ahmad N. Sirtuins, Melatonin and Circadian Rhythm: Building a Bridge between Aging and Cancer. J Pineal Research. 2009 48(1):9-19.

Check PubMed for other publications by Nihal Ahmad

Mentor to METC Graduate Students:
  • Glorimar Guzman-Perez (Current)
  • Brian Cholewa (2014)
  • Liz Garcia-Peterson (2019)
  • Debra Garvey (2019)
  • Brittney Jung-Hynes (2010)
  • Travis Schmit (2010)