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Dr Naila Rabbani





Systems Biology Centre
University of Warwick
Tel: 024 7696 8593

Research Interests

I lead multi-disciplinary team, working in the field of disease mechanisms - particularly in the study of damage to the proteome by glycation, oxidation and nitration. Major theme of my research are (i)Proteomics of protein damage – innovative analytical techniques to study protein glycation, oxidation and nitration in ageing and disease. (ii) Dysfunctional lipoprotein metabolism - studying damage to lipoproteins in obesity, diabetes and ageing and risk of atherosclerosis. (iii) Protein damage in arthritis – biomarker discovery for early-stage diagnosis (iv) Thiamine metabolism and therapy in diabetes – a novel factor predisposing to vascular complications of diabetes and route to therapy.


I entered academic life as a mature student in 1995. After graduating in Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, I pursued pre-doctoral research improving analytical methods to identify and quantify markers of protein damage by glycation, oxidation and nitration. Damage to proteins of these types is important in mechanisms of chronic and degenerative disease mediating impairment of structural, catalytic and regulatory proteins. I gained skills and experience in mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS stable isotopic dilution analysis of amino acids and related glycated, oxidised and nitrated derivatives, and proteomics) mammalian cell culture, pre-clinical animal pharmacology and clinical studies; working with colleagues within the host research team and with several national and international collaborating research groups. I have supervised 4 PhD students, published 81 peer-reviewed articles and 124 conference papers; I have published 80 peer-reviewed articles, 119 conference papers and abstracts, and 5 patents; h-factor 34 with 2937 citations; and I have filed 5 patents. In my post-doctoral research, I continued studies developing LC-MS/MS techniques for comprehensively and quantitatively screening for protein damage in models of disease mechanisms and clinical studies and became world leaders in this field - supported by Welcome Trust. With advanced proteomics techniques, I identified proteins and sites within proteins susceptible to damage by glycation; particularly glycation by the reactive dicarbonyl methylglyoxal (MG): albumin, haemoglobin, lens crystallins and type IV collagen. Markers of damage to albumin and haemoglobin are of diagnostic relevance as markers of glycaemic control and risk of vascular disease development in diabetes. I studied markers of protein damage in clinical and experimental diabetes and diabetic complications, endstage renal disease and dialysis, cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease, ageing, arthritis and thermally processed foodstuffs. Damage to lens crystallins and type IV collagen is important mechanistically in the development of cataract and vascular disease, respectively. I gained national and international recognition of my work because of its original, insightful approach. Since April 2007, I have co-directed the Protein Damage and Systems Biology Research Group in Warwick Medical School. I specialise in preclinical and clinical studies of protein damage and the anti-stress gene response in disease mechanisms, diagnostics and therapeutics; with spin-off therapeutics development (high dose thiamine therapy for diabetic vascular complications). My current research focus is investigations of damage to lipoproteins and influence of dietary bioactive compounds on lipoprotein synthesis, damage and metabolism - supported by the BHF and BBSRC. My core research project is a study of dicarbonyl glycation of apolipoprotein B100 of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and its importance in dyslipidaemia in diabetes and ageing. This includes use of mathematical models in a systems biology approach to predict consequences of change in lipoprotein function in lipoprotein metabolism following glycation. Improved understanding is also available from studies of high density lipoprotein (HDL) damage in dyslipidaemia and atherosclerosis in diabetes and ageing.

Research Projects

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View Naila Rabbani Publications on the University of Warwick Publication service.

Post Graduate Supervision

  • Mechanism of increased renal clearance of thiamine in hyperglycaemia associated with diabetes. Date of Completion:2012
  • Glycation in periodontal disease Date of Completion:2015
  • Effect of glyoxalase 1 silencing and gene deletion on development of diabetic nephropathy Date of Completion:2014
  • Protein damage markers in diagnosis, progression and treatment of arthritis Date of Completion:2013
  • Dicarbonyl glycation and protein damage in vascular endothelial cells in hyperglycaemia associated with diabetes. Date of Completion:2013

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    Glyoxalase research at Warwick Medical School

    Dicarbonyl proteome and genome damage in metabolic and vascular disease by Naila Rabbani

    1 15 Naila Rabbani questions

    Protein Damage and Systems Biology

    Warwick Systems Biology Centre

    Biochemical Society focussed meeting: Glyoxalase Centennial conference

    27-29 November 2013, Scarman House, University of Warwick

    This event will celebrate 100 years of research on the "Glyoxalase" metabolic pathway.

    This year is the centenary of the Glyoxalase System. It provides protection against damaging modification of proteins and nucleotides by methylglyoxal. Methylglyoxal accumulation - “dicarbonyl stress” – may provide the basis for improved understanding of mechanisms of disease and health decline in ageing, and suggest new strategies for therapeutics and functional food development.

    Further details and registration are available on the Biochemical Society website