Estb. 1882

University of the Punjab

Prof. Dr. Saima Sadaf

Prof. Dr. Saima Sadaf
Dr. Saima Sadaf is serving the University of the Punjab as Tenured Professor since December 2019. She obtained M.Sc. and PhD degrees in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan; worked as Pre-doctoral researcher at the Cornell University, USA during 2004 and later as Post-doctoral Fellow at ETH Zurich, Switzerland during 2013-14. Currently, Prof. Sadaf is Director, School of Biochemistry and Biotechnology (SBB) and Group Leader of the ‘Biopharmaceuticals and Biomarkers Discovery Lab.’. With demonstrated experience in performing the molecular and clinical research studies, her research group is working on identification of novel molecular markers in the liquid-biopsies and tissue samples to aid in early-on diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of various malignancies (breast-, brain-, colorectal cancers and leukemias) and pathophysiological states. Prof. Sadaf has published the exciting findings of her research work in leading scientific journals like Nature Biotechnology, Metabolites, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Scientific Reports, Cancer Biomarkers, etc. (cumulative impact factor: > 130).
Prof. Sadaf has won several research grants from national and international funding agencies like British Council, TWAS-COMSTECH, Pakistan Academy of Sciences and HEC, Pakistan. Highly competitive Swiss Government Excellence Fellowship by the Swiss Confederation for postdoctorate research; Presidential Talent Scholarships; Roll of Honor; and 3 Granted Patents, are also in her credit. She has mentored over 40 MS/M.Phil. and 8 PhD students, so far. A snapshot of actively pursued research areas of Prof. Sadaf’s group is herebelow:

Multi-omics approaches for discovery of molecular markers in pathophysiological states
Exploiting the multi-omic technologies [such as high-throughput sequencing, epigenome analyses, mass-spectrometry, high-resolution magic angle spinning (HRMAS)-NMR] for biomarkers identification, the group has analyzed several dysregulated proteins, oncoMiRs, small metabolites, and gene mutations in breast-, brain-, colorectal cancers, and leukemias. The molecular markers, thus identified, have potential to aid in disease diagnosis, prognosis, and/or minimal residual disease monitoring. For more details, pl see:
Firdous S, Abid R, Nawaz Z, Bukhari F, Anwer A, Cheng LL, Sadaf S. Dysregulated alanine as a potential predictive marker of glioma - An insight from untargeted HRMAS-NMR and machine learning data. Metabolites. 2021 Aug 1;11(8):507. doi: 10.3390/metabo11080507.
Hussan SS, Maqsood N, Wang Q, Tao S, Sadaf S. A panel of epigenetically dysregulated Wnt signaling pathway genes for non-invasive diagnosis of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Biomark. 2021;32(4):459-470. doi: 10.3233/CBM-200814.
Shahid S, Shahid W, Shaheen J, Akhtar MW, Sadaf S. Circulating miR-146a expression as a non-invasive predictive biomarker for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 23;11(1):22783. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-02257-4.
Nisar H, Pasha U, Mirza MU, Abid R, Hanif K, Kadarmideen HN, Sadaf S. Impact of IL-17F 7488T/C functional polymorphism on progressive rheumatoid arthritis: Novel insight from the molecular dynamic simulations. Immunol Invest. 2021;50(4):416-426. doi: 10.1080/08820139.2020.1775642.
Nisar H, Wajid B, Shahid S, Anwar F, Wajid I, Khatoon A, Sattar MU, Sadaf S. Whole-genome sequencing as a first-tier diagnostic framework for rare genetic diseases. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2021 Dec;246(24):2610-2617. doi: 10.1177/15353702211040046.
Ghazanfar S, Fatima I, Aslam M, Musharraf SG, Sherman NE, Moskaluk C, Fox JW, Akhtar MW, Sadaf S. Identification of actin beta-like 2 (ACTBL2) as novel, upregulated protein in colorectal cancer. J Proteomics. 2017 Jan 30;152:33-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2016.10.011.
Rational protein design, engineering, and analyses
While working on recombinant protein design and engineering, the group has explained the impact of 5ʹ-end codons, rare codons/anti-codons and the effect of stable mRNA secondary structure formation in the early downstream coding regions, on the expression/production of a heterologous protein. Strategies have been devised to ensure the expression of commercial enzymes and clinically important proteins (such as interleukins, colony stimulating factors, growth hormones, leptin, etc.), in amounts sufficient for further applications and structure-function analyses. The group has also suggested fermentation conditions and new media components with which the cell mass of E. coli and/or P. pastoris expression hosts can be enhanced several folds with resultant profound increase in the product yield. The said approaches may be well utilized for cost-effective production of biopharmaceuticals by the local pharma industry.  For details, pl see:
Iqbal Z, Sadaf S. Forty years of directed evolution and its continuously evolving technology toolbox: A review of the patent landscape. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2022 Mar;119(3):693-724. doi: 10.1002/bit.28009. (Cover Page Article)
Tahir S, Iqbal MM, Akhtar MW, Wang Q, Sun T, Sadaf S. SUMO-fusion and autoinduction-based combinatorial approach for enhanced production of bioactive human interleukin-24 in Escherichia coli. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Nov;104(22):9671-9682. doi: 10.1007/s00253-020-10921-4.
Wang Q, Guo X, Chen Y, Wu Z, Zhou Y, Sadaf S, Han L, Ding X, Sun T. Theranostics system caged in human serum albumin as a therapy for breast tumors. J Mater Chem B. 2020 Aug 12;8(31):6877-6885. doi: 10.1039/d0tb00377h.
Ongoing International Collaborations
Prof. Sadaf’s lab is in active collaboration with research groups based in Harvard Medical School, NIH, USA; Fudan University, China; and Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark.
With dedicated team of young scientists, fully equipped lab., pleasant working environment, and advanced research areas that crossroad with biomedical and omic science, applications are welcomed from enthusiastic and brilliant foreign PhD students and postdoctoral scientists, throughout the year, to join Prof. Sadaf’s group. Interested candidates are advised to send their CV along with motivation letter, list of publications, study certificates, and contact details of two reference persons directly to Prof. Saima Sadaf at email:
Designation:- Professor