Biochemistry and Structural Biology  Back to Main

Faculty Detail    
Campus Address BBRB 366 Zip 2170
Phone  (205) 996-9282
Other websites

Undergraduate  Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine    1996  B.S 
Graduate  Bergen University, Bergen, Norway    1998  M.S 
Graduate  Emory University, Atlanta, GA    Ph.D  2002 

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  Center for AIDS Research  Center for AIDS Research Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Ctr for Clinical & Translational Sci Professor
Primary  Microbiology  Microbiology Professor
Secondary  Chemistry  Chemistry Associate Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Biochemistry and Structural Biology 

Biographical Sketch 
Obtained his B.S degree in Chemistry at Birzeit University in Palestine (1996), M.S degree in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Bergen University in Norway (1998; advisor: Dr. Einar Sletten), and a Ph.D degree in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Emory University in Atlanta (2002; advisor: Dr. Luigi Marzilli). His M.S. and Ph.D studies focused on studying the interactions of cisplatin, a leading anticancer drug, with DNA by using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and other biophysical methods. Dr. Saad's postdoctoral work in Dr. Michael Summers' lab (HHMI, UMBC) focused on the mechanism by which retroviruses are directed to specific cellular membranes for assembly. Dr. Saad joined the UAB faculty in 2007.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
Member, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)  2006 – present 
Member, the American Chemical Society (ACS)  2002 – present 
Member, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) (ASBMB)  2011 – present 
Member, the American Society for Virology (ASV)  2018 – present 
Member, The protein society  2015 – present 

Research/Clinical Interest
HIV-Host Interactions and Fas-Mediated Apoptosis
My lab is interested in understanding biological mechanisms in virology and cancer at the atomic level. Our biggest state-of-the-art toy in the lab is called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). We apply this technology to assess how proteins interact with membranes, other proteins, small molecules, and sugars. In collaboration with UAB colleagues, we are starting to apply NMR Spectroscopy methods to detect and quantify metabolites in animal cells and tissues. Our main focus in the virology field is aimed at elucidating molecular mechanisms of HIV assembly. Our cancer projects include those aimed at characterization of protein-protein interactions pertaining to Fas-mediated apoptosis in cholangiocarcinoma. Most recently, we have been investigating at the structural level how the Akt protein interacts with lipids and proteins to facilitate translocation to the plasma membrane for activation in many cancer cells.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Constance Agamasu, Ruba H. Ghanam and Jamil S. Saad (2015). “Structural and biophysical characterization of the interactions between calmodulin and the pleckstrin homology domain of Threonine kinase Akt. J. Biol. Chem, in press.   
Jamil S. Saad, Jaime Miller, Janet Tai, Andrew Kim, Ruba H. Ghanam, and Michael F. Summers. (2006) “Structural Basis for Targeting HIV-1 Gag proteins to the Plasma Membrane for Virus Assembly”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 103, 11364-11369 (Highlighted on the cover).  16840558 
Jamil S. Saad, Erin Loeliger, Paz Luncsford, Mellisa Liriano, Janet Tai, Andrew Kim, Jaime Miller, Anjali Joshi, Eric O. Freed and Michael F. Summers (2007). “Point Mutations in the HIV-1 Matrix Protein Turn off the Myristyl Switch”, J. Mol. Biol., 366, 574-585 (Illustrated on the cover).  17188710 
Jamil S. Saad, Sherimay D. Ablan, Ruba H. Ghanam, Andrew Kim, Kalola Andrews, Kunio Nagashima, Eric O. Freed, and Michael F. Summers (2008). “Structure of the myristylated HIV-2 MA protein and the role of PI(4,5)P2 in membrane targeting”, J. Mol. Biol., 382, 434-347.  18657545 
Jamil S. Saad, Giovanni Natile, and Luigi G. Marzilli (2009) “Origins of the Distortions in the Base Pair Step Adjacent to Platinum Anticancer Drug-DNA Adducts. Fundamental NMR Solution Studies Utilizing Right-Handed Cross-Link Models Having 5'- and 3'-Flanking Residues”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., ”, 131, 12314-12324.  19655752 
Hamard-Peron, E., Juilliard, F., Jamil S. Saad, Roy, C., Roingeard, P., Michael F. Summers, Darlix, JL., Picart, C. and D. Muriaux (2010). “Targeting of MuLV Gag to the Plasma Membrane is Mediated by PI(4,5)P2/PS and a polybasic region in the Matrix. J. Virol, 84, 503-515.  19828619 
Kathleen G. Valentine, Ronald Peterson, Jamil S. Saad, Michael F. Summers, Xianzhong Xu, James B. Ames, and A. Joshua Wand (2010). “Reverse micelle encapsulation of membrane anchored proteins for solution NMR studies”. Structure, 18, 9-16.  20152148 
Emily L. Fledderman, Ken Fujii, Ruba H. Ghanam, Kayoko Waki, Peter E. Prevelige, Eric O. Freed, and Jamil S. Saad (2010) “Myristate Exposure in the HIV-1 Matrix Protein is Modulated by pH”. Biochemistry, 49, 9551-9562.  20886905 
Ruba H. Ghanam, Timothy Fernandez, Emily Fledderman, and Jamil S. Saad (2010) “Binding of Calmodulin to the HIV-1 Matrix Protein Triggers Myristate Exposure”. J. Biol. Chem., 285, 41911-41920.  20956522 
Jamil S. Saad, Michele Benedetti, Giovanni Natile, and Luigi G. Marzilli (2011). “NMR Studies of Models Having the Pt(d(GpG)) 17-Membered Macrocyclic Ring Formed in DNA by Platinum Anticancer Drugs. Pt Complexes with Bulky Chiral Diamine Ligands”, Inorg. Chem., 50, 4559-4571.  21510625 
Alexandra B. Samal, Ruba H. Ghanam, Timothy F. Fernandez, Eric B. Monroe and Jamil S. Saad (2011). “NMR, Biophysical and Biochemical Studies Reveal the Minimal Calmodulin-Binding Domain of the HIV-1 Matrix Protein”. J. Biol. Chem., 286, 33533-33543.  21799007 
Jamil S. Saad, Patricia A. Marzilli, Francesco P. Intini, Giovanni Natile, and Luigi G. Marzilli (2011) “Single-stranded Oligonucleotide Adducts Formed by Pt Complexes Favoring Left-handed Base Canting. Steric Effect of Flanking Residues and Relevance to DNA Adducts Formed by Pt Anticancer Drugs”. Inorg. Chem., 50, 8608-8620.  21819051 
Altaira D. Dearborn, Michael S. Spilman, Priyadarshan K. Damle, Jenny R. Chang, Eric B. Monroe, Jamil S. Saad, Gail E. Christie and Terje Dokland (2011) “The Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity island 1 protein gp6 functions as an internal scaffold during capsid size determination”, J. Mol. Biol., 412, 710-722.  21821042 
Ruba H. Ghanam, Alexandra B. Samal, Timothy F. Fernandez, Jamil S. Saad (2012). “Role of the HIV-1 Matrix Protein in Gag Intracellular Trafficking and Targeting to the Plasma Membrane for Virus Assembly”. Invited Review in Frontiers in Microbiology, 3, 55.  22363329 
Juan Calix, Jamil S. Saad, Alison Brady, Moon Nahm (2012). ‘Structural Characterization of Streptococcus pneumonia serotype 9A Capsule Polysaccharide Reveals the Role of the Glycosyl 6-O-acetyltransferase wcjE’ in Serotype 9V Capsule Biosynthesis and Immunogenicity”, J. Biol. Chem, 287, 13996-14003.  22367197 
Jiri Vlach and Jamil S. Saad (2013). “Trio Engagement via Plasma Membrane Phospholipids and the Myristoyl Moiety Governs HIV-1 MA Binding to Bilayers”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 110, 3525-3530.  23401539 
Timothy F. Fernandez,‡ Alexandra B. Samal,‡ Gregory J. Bedwell, Yabing Chen, and Jamil S. Saad (2013). “Characterization of the interactions between the death domain of Fas receptor and calmodulin”. J. Biol. Chem., 288, 21898-21908. (‡ Authors contributed equally to this work).  23760276 
Melissa B Oliver, Mark PG van der Linden, SA Küntzel, Jamil S. Saad, Moon H. Nahm (2013). “Discovery of Streptococcus pneumoniae Serogroup 6 Variants with Glycosyltransferases Synthesizing Two Differing Repeating Units”. J. Biol. Chem, 288, 25976-25985.  23897812 
Juan J. Calix, Allison M. Brady, Victor Du, Jamil S. Saad, and Moon H. Nahm (2014). “Spectrum of pneumococcal serotype 11A variants results from incomplete loss of capsule O-acetylation”. J. Clin. Micro. 52, 758-765.  24352997 
Jiri Vlach,‡ Alexandra B. Samal,‡ and Jamil S. Saad (2014). “Solution structure of calmodulin bound to the binding domain of the HIV-1 matrix protein”, J. Biol. Chem., 289, 8697-8705. (‡ Authors contributed equally to this work)  24500712 
Jiri Vlach and Jamil S. Saad (2015). “Structural and molecular determinants of HIV-1 Gag binding to the plasma membrane during virus assembly”. Frontiers of Microbiology, 6, 232.  25852680 
Ayala Lampel, Yaron Bram, Anat Ezer, Ronit Shaltiel-Kario, Jamil S. Saad, Eran Bacharach, and Ehud Gazit (2015). “Targeting the Early Step of Building Block Organization in Viral Capsid Assembly”. ACS. Chem. Biol., 10, 1785-1790  25997366 
Jamil S. Saad and Delphine M. Muriaux (2015). “Role of lipids in virus assembly”. Frontiers of Microbiology, 6, 410.  25999935 
Bliss J. Chang, Alexandra B. Samal, Jiri Vlach, Timothy F. Fernandez, Dewey Brook, Peter E. Prevelige Jr., and Jamil S. Saad (2016). “Identification of the Calmodulin-Binding Domains of Fas Death Receptor”. PLoS One, 11, e0146493.   26735300 
Constance Agamasu and Jamil S. Saad (2017). “The Interplay Between Calmodulin and Membrane Interactions with the Pleckstrin Homology Domain of Akt”. J. Biol. Chem., 292, 251-263.  27872186 
Rosanne L. L. Hill, Jiri Vlach, Jamil S. Saad, and Terje Dokland (2017). The role of Dutpase activity in derepression of sapibov1 by bacteriophage nm1. J. Mol. Biol. 429, 1570-1580.  28400210 
Richard E. Murphy, Alexandra B. Samal, Jiri Vlach and Jamil S. Saad (2017). “Solution Structure and Membrane Interaction of the Cytoplasmic Tail of HIV-1 gp41 Protein”.  29056482 
Susan M. Watanabe, Gisselle Medina, Gunnar N. Eastep, Ruba H. Ghanam, Jiri Vlach, Jamil S. Saad, and Carol A. Carter (2018). “The matrix domain of the Gag protein from avian sarcoma virus contains a PI(4,5)P2-binding site that targets Gag to the cell periphery”. J. Biol. Chem. 293, 18841-18853. (PMID: 30309982; PMCID: PMC6295721)  30309982 
Jiri Vlach, Gunnar N. Eastep, Ruba H. Ghanam, Susan M. Watanabe, Carol A. Carter, and Jamil S. Saad (2018). “Structural basis for targeting avian sarcoma virus Gag polyprotein to the plasma membrane for virus assembly”. J. Biol. Chem. 293, 18828-18840. (PMC6295720)
- Illustrated on the cover.
Uday Tak, Jiri Vlach, Acely Garza-Garcia, Doreen William, Olga Danilchanka, Luis de Carvalho, Jamil S. Saad, and Michael Niederweis (2019). “The tuberculosis necrotizing toxin is an NAD+ and NADP+ glycohydrolase with distinct enzymatic properties”. J. Biol. Chem. 294, 3024-3036. (PMID: 30593509; PMCID: PMC6295721)  30593509 
Melanie H. Wong,‡ Alexandra B. Samal,‡ Mike Lee, Jiri Vlach, Nikolai Novikov, Anita Niedziela-Majka, Joy Y. Feng, Dmitry O. Koltun, Katherine M. Brendza, Hyock Joo Kwon, Brian E. Schultz, Roman Sakowicz, Jamil S. Saad,* and Giuseppe A. Papalia* (2019). “The KN-93 molecule inhibits calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) activity by binding to Ca2+/CaM”. ‡Authors contributed equally. J. Mol. Biol. 431, 1440-1459. (PMID: 30753871)  30753871 
Moon H. Nahm*, Terry Brissac, Mogens Kilian, Jiri Vlach, Carlos J. Orihuela, Jamil S. Saad, Feroze Ganaie (2020). “Pneumococci Can Become Virulent by Acquiring a New Capsule From Oral Streptococci”. J. Infect. Dis., 222, 372-380. (PMID: 31605125; PMCID: PMC7457184)  31605125 
R. Elliot Murphy, Alexandra B. Samal, Jiri Vlach, Vicente Mas, Peter E. Prevelige, and Jamil S. Saad (2019). “Structural and biophysical characterization of HIV-1 matrix trimer binding to lipid nanodiscs shed light on virus assembly”. J. Biol. Chem. 294, 18600-18612. (PMID: 31640987; PMCID: PMC6901326)   31640987 
R. Elliot Murphy and Jamil S. Saad (2020). “The interplay between HIV-1 Gag binding to the plasma membrane and Env incorporation”. Viruses, 12, 548-560. (PMID: 32429351; PMCID: PMC7291237)  32429351 
Feroze Ganaie, Jamil S. Saad, Lesley McGee, Andries J. van Tonder, Stephen D. Bentley, Stephanie W. Lo, Rebecca A. Gladstone, Paul Turner, Jeremy D. Keenan, Robert F. Breiman, Moon H. Nahm (2020). “A New Pneumococcal Capsule Type, 10D, Is the 100th Serotype and Has a Large cps Fragment From an Oral Streptococcus”. mBio, 11, E00937-20. (PMID: 32430472)  32430472 

HIV, NMR, Cancer, Drug design