Smita Zaheer, PhD



Senior Research Scientist

Academic Information

Senior Research Scientist

Research Interests


  • Proinflammatory pathways in the CNS
  • Neuroinflmmatory and neurodegenerative disorders

Areas of Expertise

  • Inflammatory pathways in the CNS
  • Animal models of neurodegenerative disorders
  • Stress activated signal transduction
  • shRNA-mediated down-regulation of protein expression in vivo and in vitro

Education & Training

Post-Graduate School

Bombay University, India

Awards & Honors

  • Cancer Research Institute fellowship  Bombay University 1977-81
  • Post-doctoral fellow, Biochemistry Department University Of Iowa 1981-85


  • Selvakumar GP, Iyer S, Kempuraj D, Raju M, Thangavel R, Saeed D, Ahmed ME, Zahoor H, Raikwar SR, Zaheer S , Zaheer A. Glia Maturation Factor Dependent Inhibition of Mitochondrial PGC-1α Triggers Oxidative Stress Mediated Apoptosis in N27 Rat Dopaminergic Neuronal Cells. Molecular Neurobiology. 2018. Jan 30. doi: 10.1007/s12035-018-0882-6.
  • Kempuraj D, Selvakumar GP, Thangavel R, Raikwar S, Ahmed ME, Zaheer S, Bhagavan SM, Beladakere-Ramaswamy S, Iyer S, Zaheer A. Mast Cell Activation in Brain Injury, Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alzheimer’s disease Pathogenesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience 2017. 
  • Thangavel R, Bhagavan S, Ramaswamy S , Surpur S, Govindarajan G, Kempuraj D, Zaheer S, Raikwar S, Ahmed, M E, Selvakumar GP, Iyer S and Zaheer A. Co-expression of Glia Maturation Factor and Apolipoprotein E4 in Alzheimer's Disease Brain. J Alzheimers Dis. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170777. 2017 
  • Kempuraj D, Thangavel R, Selvakumar GP, Zaheer S, Ahmed ME, Raikwar SR, Zahoor H, Saeed D, Natteru PA, Iyer S, Zaheer A. Brain and Peripheral Atypical Inflammatory Mediators Potentiate Neuroinflammation and Neurodegeneration. Front Cell Neurosci. 11:216, 2017. 
  • Kempuraj D, Selvakumar GP, Zaheer S, Thangavel R, Ahmed ME, Raikwar SR, Govindarajan G, Iyer SS and Zaheer A. Cross-talk Between Glia, Neurons and Mast Cells in Neuroinflammation Associated with Parkinson’s disease. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol.  2017, doi: 10.1007/s11481-017-9766-1. 
  • Thangavel R, Kempuraj D, Zaheer S, Raikwar S, Ahmed ME, Selvakumar GP, Iyer SS, Zahjeer A. Glia maturation factor and mitpochondrial uncoupling proteins 2 and 4 expression in the temporal cortex of Alzheimer’s disease brain. Front Aging Neurosci 9:150, 2017. 
  • Ahmed ME, Iyer SS, Thangavel R, Kempuraj D, Selvakumar GP, Raikwar SP, Zaheer S, Zaheer A. Co-localization of Glia Maturation Factor with NLRP3 Inflammasome and Autophagosome Markers in Human Alzheimer’s disease Brain. J Alzheimers Dis. 60;1143-1160, 2017. 
  • Kempuraj D, Thangavel R, Natteru PA, Selvakumar GP, Saeed D, Zahoor H, Zaheer S, Iyer SS, Zaheer A. Neuroinflammation induces neurodegeneration. J Neurol Neurosurg Spine 1(1). Pii 1003, 2016. 
  • Kempuraj D, Thangavel R, Fattal R, Pattani S, Yang E, Zaheer S, Santillan DA, Santillan MK, Zaheer A. Mast cells release chemokine CCL2 in response to Parkinsonian toxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-pyridinium (MPP+). Neurochem Res 41(5):1042-1049, 2016. 
  • Kempuraj D, Thangavel R, Yang E, Pattani S, Zaheer S, Santillan DA, Santillan MK, Zaheer A. Dopaminergic toxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium, proteins alpha synuclein and glia maturation factor activate mast cells and release inflammatory mediators. PLoS One 10:e135776, 2015. 
  • Khan MM, Zaheer S, Thangavel R, Patel M, Kempuraj D, Zaheer A. Absence of Glia maturation factor protects dopaminergic neurons and improves motor behavior in mouse model of Parkinsonism. Neurochem Res 40(5):980-990, 2015. 
  • Khan MM, Kempuraj D, Zaheer S, Zaheer A. Glia maturation factor deficiency suppresses 1-Methyl-4-Phenylpyridinium-induced oxidative stress in astrocytes. J Mol Neurosci 53(4):590-599, 2014. 
  • Khan MM, Zaheer S, Nehman J, Zaheer A. Suppression of glia maturation factor expression prevents 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP⁺)-induced loss of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons.Neuroscience. 277:196-205, 2014 
  • Xiong Z, Thangavel R, Kempuraj D, Yang E, Zaheer S, Zaheer AAlzheimer's disease: evidence for the expression of interleukin-33 and its receptor ST2 in the brain.J Alzheimers Dis.;40(2):297-308, 2014.
  • Zaheer S, Thangavel R, Wu Y, Khan MM, Kempuraj D, Zaheer A. Enhanced expression of glia maturation factor correlates with glial activation in the brain of triple transgenic Alzheimer's disease mice. Neurochem Res. 38(1):218-25, 2013. 
  • Zaheer S, Wu Y, Yang X, Thangavel R, Sahu SK, Zaheer A.Efficient down-regulation of glia maturation factor expression in mouse brain and spinal cord.Neurochem Res:37(7):1578-83, 2012.
  • Zaheer S, Wu Y, Yang X, Ahrens M, Sahu SK, Zaheer A.Clinical course of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein 35-55 induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis is aggravated by glia maturation factor.Neurochem Int. 60(3):215-19,2012.
  • Zaheer S, Thangavel R, Sahu SK, Zaheer A.Augmented expression of glia maturation factor in Alzheimer's disease.Neuroscience.194:227-33,2011. 
  • Zaheer S, Wu Y, Sahu SK, Zaheer A.Suppression of neuro inflammation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by glia maturation factor antibody.Brain Res :1373,230-9, 2011.
  • Zaheer S, Wu Y, Sahu SK, Zaheer A.Overexpression of glia maturation factor reinstates susceptibility to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in glia maturation factor deficient mice.Neurobiol Dis : 40(3), 593-98,2010.
  • Zaheer A, Zaheer S, Thangavel R, Wu Y, Sahu SK, Yang B.Glia maturation factor modulates beta-amyloid-induced glial activation, inflammatory cytokine/chemokine production and neuronal damage.Brain Res.1208:192-203, 2008.
  • Zaheer S, Wu Y, Bassett J, Yang B, Zaheer A.Glia maturation factor regulation of STAT expression: a novel mechanism in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.Neurochem Res. 32(12): 2123-31,2007.
  • Zaheer A, Zaheer S, Sahu SK, Knight S, Khosravi H, Mathur SN, Lim R.A novel role of glia maturation factor: induction of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and pro-inflammatory cytokines. J Neurochem.101(2):364-76, 2007.
  • Zaheer A, Zaheer S, Sahu SK, Yang B, Lim R. Reduced severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in GMF-deficient mice. Neurochem Res.32(1):39-47,2007.