Parvez Akhtar, PhD 

Research Scientist

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Aurora Research Institute
960 N. 12th Street, Suite 4120
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Research Scientist Parvez Akhtar, PhD

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Dr. Akhtar’s work for Aurora Research Institute centers on whether the Zika virus can be genetically modified to target only glioblastoma cancer cells, which form the most prevalent type of primary brain tumor. The genetically altered virus could supplement existing cancer therapies by killing glioblastoma cells that resist and survive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He hopes this research could eventually reduce cancer recurrence.
Before arriving at Aurora, Dr. Akhtar participated in three main areas of research. The first dealt with the progression of human papillomavirus-associated cervical and head and neck cancers. His second area of previous research involved investigating the functional significance of LANA1 and EBNA1, the major latency proteins of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and Epstein-Barr virus. The third main area of research involved the molecular biology and pathogenesis of Bacillus anthracis, the organism that causes anthrax, with the goal of developing drugs to fight it and related organisms.


Doctorate, Bacterial Genetics
Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India

Master of Science, Biochemistry
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, Faizabad, India

Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and Botany
Gorakhpur University, India

Professional highlights

Research Associate, Cancer Virology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania, 2015-2017

Research Associate, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, 2009-2015

Postdoctoral fellow, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, 2006-2009


Pastrana CL, Carrasco C, Akhtar P, Leuba SH, Khan SA, Moreno-Herrero F. Force and twist dependence of RepC nicking activity on torsionally-constrained DNA molecules. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016;44:8885-8896.

Chapman BV, Wald AI, Akhtar P, Munko AC, Xu J, Gibson SP, Grandis JR, Ferris RL, Khan SA. MicroRNA-363 targets myosin 1B to reduce cellular migration in head and neck cancer. BMC Cancer. 2015;15:861.

Akhtar P and Khan SA. Two independent replicons can support replication of the anthrax toxin-encoding plasmid pXO1 of Bacillus anthracis. Plasmid. 2012;67:111-117.

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