Dr. Barakat received his PhD in biophysics from the University of Alberta in 2012 followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Professor Michael Houghton’s Lab for two years. During his career, Dr. Barakat received numerous awards including the CIHR and AIHS postdoctoral fellowships, the prestigious UofA dissertation award, the ACRI Studentship and many distinction awards throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies. Dr. Barakat is also the editor of a number of journals. Dr. Barakat's lab is supported by different funding agencies including the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology and IC-IMPACTS Centres of Excellence. Dr. Barakat is also the CEO & co-founder of HEKA Therapeutics Inc. and co-founder of ACHLYS; two spinoff companies devoted to drug discovery of immune checkpoints small molecule inhibitors and predicting off-target toxicity of new compounds in drug discovery.
For more information, please check recent media coverage about Barakat's lab:
The major research focus in my lab is to apply state-of-the-art computational drug discovery tools to discover new antiviral and immune checkpoints’ small molecule drugs. Our lab specializes in understanding the nature and biophysical processes underlying protein-drug interaction, protein-protein interactions, protein-DNA interactions, drug off-target interactions and predicting drug-mediated toxicity. My laboratory has been growing and evolving into a multidisciplinary team, which comprises members with expertise in computer software design, pharmaceutics, chemistry, biophysics and computer science. We also have our own contemporary computer cluster as well as allocated resources from compute Canada and the IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer. In addition to the computational framework in our group, we also carry out different wet-lab experimental techniques to validate our modelling hypothesis and optimize our calculations. Our experiments are devoted to the characterization of protein-small molecules and protein-protein interactions.
My lab has managed to:
• Build innovative computer models for the immune checkpoints proteins.
• Design small molecule inhibitors for the PD-1 and CTLA-4 pathways.
• Build comprehensive models for protein ion channels and membrane proteins.
• Develope new technologies to predict protein-protein and protein-drug interactions.
• Build robust mathematical models for different immune checkpoints pathways.
• Develope novel inhibitors for the RNA polymerase NS5B of HCV.
• Develope three novel classes of inhibitors for the HCV viral protein NS5A.
• Discover the first inhibitor of the ERCC1-XPA protein-protein interaction.
• Discover inhibitors for the ERCC1-XPF protein-protein interaction.
• Discover dual inhibitors for the p53-MDM2/MDM4 protein-protein interactions.
• Identify the binding site of Laulimalide within tubulin protein.
Past Lab Members (where do our trainees go?):
Internship & Summer Students:
Name Period Degree Current Position
Minwoo Ha 06/2019-08/2019 Summer student Science Undergraduate Student, University of Alberta, Canada.
Anna Jutla 06/2019-08/2019 Summer student Pharmacy Undergraduate Student, University of Alberta, Canada.
Nawreen Hena 06/2019-08/2019 Summer student Science Undergraduate Student, University of Alberta, Canada.
Simaranjit Grewal 06/2019-08/2019 Summer student Science Undergraduate Student, University of Alberta, Canada.
Jiay Tong 03/2019-05/2019 UARE Intern MSc, Germany
Yanping Yang 01/2019-03/2019 UARE Intern MSc, China
Ziwen Chen 10/2018-12/2018 CSC Intern MSc, China.
Anna Jutla 04/2018-09/2018 Summer Student Pharmacy Undergraduate Student, Uof Alberta, Canada.
Nawreen Hena 01/2017-05/2017 Summer Student Science Undergraduate Student, Uof Alberta, Canada.
Theinmozhi Arulraj 05/2017-08/2017 UARE Intern PhD Student, Germany.
Gyan Darshan 05/2017-08/2017 UARE Intern MSc, India
Min-haung chiang 01/2017-05/2017 UARE Intern PhD student, New Zealand
Abhishek Pal 05/2016-08/2016 UARE Intern MSc, India
Crystal Lui 01/2016-05/2016 Summer Student Faculty of Medicine, Uof Calgary, Canada.
Michael Heinzinger 01/2016-03/2016 UARE Intern PhD student, Germany.
Amanda Ngo 05/2015-09/2015 Summer Student Pharmacist, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Jeffery Chow 05/2015-09/2015 Summer Student Pharmacist, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Tianhua Feng 04/2015-07/2015 CSC intern MSc, University of Alberta, Canada.
Summer Kassem 09/2014-01/2015 Intern Student PhD, AUC, Egypt.
Alessio Prunotto 03/2012-03/2012 Intern Student PhD, Italy
High School Students:
Name Period Degree
Harsh Beesoon 07/2019-08/2019 Heritage Youth Researcher Summer (HYRS) Program
Current Lab Members:
• Farag Mosa, PhD Student (June 2019 - Present).
• Yasser Tebana, PhD Student (January 2018 - Present).
Internship & Summer Students:
Name Period Position
Minwoo Ha 05/2020-09/2020 Summer student
Anna Jutla 06/2020-09/2020 Summer student
Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry: Principles of Drug Action and Disposition. My Lectures are focused on drug binding interactions and structure-activity relationships.
A Lecture on Drugs For Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout & Hyperuricemia.
A Lecture on Medicinal Chemistry Of Antiarrythmic Drugs.
A Lecture on Medicinal Chemistry of Adrenergic β2-agonists
This introductory graduate-level course was designed to provide students with the background and a hands-on understanding of basic techniques involved in computer-aided drug design. The course introduced students to different tools including chemoinformatics, bioinformatics, molecular modeling, homology modeling, molecular dynamics simulation, molecular docking, QSAR, pharmacophore modelling, in silico ADME prediction and case studies highlighting recent successes. Lectures on course concepts were closely combined with hands-on tutorials that allowed the practical application of computational methods and statistical data analysis in a project-based format. Students recognized the strengths and challenges in computer-aided drug design approaches and learned how in silico methods can be complemented with experimental studies in concrete ligand discovery and design projects. Students were granted access to high performance computing resources to run their simulations and analyze the resulting data.
This course is focused on seminar training and short seminar presentations on topics related to the student’s field of research. Normally, the seminar will be presented during the student’s second or third term. Required for all MSc and PhD students.
Seminar training and short seminar presentations on topics related to the student's field of research. Normally, the seminar will be presented during the student's second or third term. Required of all MSc and PhD students.Fall Term 2020
Seminar training and short seminar presentations on topics related to the student's field of research. Normally, the seminar will be presented during the student's second or third term. Required of all MSc and PhD students.Winter Term 2021