College of Pharmacy

Avedisian Hall, 7 Greenhouse Road Kingston, RI 02881

pharmcol@etal.uri.eduOffice: 401.874.2761 Fax: 401.874.2181

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Zahir Shaikh, Ph.D.

  • Director of INBRE and Professor
  • Office: 495F Lab: 480
  • Phone: 401.874.5036
  • Email:
  • Office Location: 7 Greenhouse Road, Kingston, RI 02881


Dr. Shaikh’s long standing research interest has been in the area of metal toxicology, with special emphasis on the mechanisms of nephrotoxicity. In addition to basic studies in this field, his laboratory has investigated biomarkers of renal dysfunction in both occupationally- as well as environmentally-exposed populations in the United States and Japan. A more recent area of research is studying the xenoestrogenic effects of cadmium in breast cancer progression.

Dr. Shaikh has a long history of administrative appointments in the academic environment. He chaired the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and later the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) College of Pharmacy for 18 years. He is currently Director of the Center for Molecular Toxicology and RI-INBRE Program at URI. He has directed this statewide multi-institutional Program since its inception and has fostered the recruitment and research career development of junior faculty, promoted collaborative biomedical and behavioral research among the junior and senior faculty from the University of Rhode Island, Brown University and primarily undergraduate institutions in the state.

He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium which is responsible for coordinating the ongoing INBRE and EPSCoR collaboration for providing high-speed fiber optic connectivity between URI’s Kingston and other campuses, and with the other academic institutions and health centers in Rhode Island and throughout the northeastern states. This fiber network and associated data storage facilities will facilitate sharing large volumes of data such as those generated by genomic and proteomic studies.


Toxicity of metals; nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity; breast cancer


Postdoctoral Fellow, Toxicology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 1973-74

Postdoctoral Fellow, Environmental Health, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK, 1972-73

Ph.D., Biochemistry, Dalhousie University, Canada, 1972

M.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Karachi, Pakistan, 1967

B.Sc., Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Pakistan, 1965


Song, X, Wei, Z, Shaikh, ZA. Requirement of ERα and basal activities of EGFR and Src kinase in Cd-induced activation of MAPK/ERK pathway in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 287:26-34 (2015).

Wei, Z, Song, X, Shaikh, ZA. Cadmium promotes the proliferation of triple-negative breast cancer cells through EGFR-mediated cell cycle regulation. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 289:98-108 (2015).

Ma, H, DaSilva, NA, Liu, W Nahar, PP, Wei. Z, Liu, Y, Pham, PT, Crews, R, Vattem, DA, Slitt, AL, Shaikh, ZA, Seeram, NP.  Effects of a standardized phenolic –enriched maple syrup extract on β-amyloid aggregation, neuroinflammation in microglia and neuronal cells, and β-amyloid induced neurotoxicity in Caenorhabditis elegans.  Neurochem Res.  41:2836-2847 (2016).

Liu, W, Wei, Z, Ma, H, Cai, A, Liu, Y, Sun, J, DaSilva,  NA, Johnson, SL, Kirschenbaum, LJ, Cho, BP, Dain, JA, Rowley, DC, Shaikh, ZA, Seeram, NP.  Anti-glycation and anti-oxidative effects of a phenolic-enriched maple syrup extract and its protective effects on normal human colon cells. Food & Function. 8:757-766 (2017).

Wei, Z, Shaikh, ZA.  Cadmium stimulates metastasis-associated phenotype in triple-negative breast cancer cells through integrins and β-catenin signaling. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 328:70-80 (2017).

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