Dr. Amin obtained his B. Pharm. and M. Pharm. from Dhaka University, Bangladesh and his Ph.D. from Nagoya University School of Medicine, Japan. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Amin moved to the USA and completed three years postdoctoral training at Case Western Reserve University and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2007, he joined the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University as a Junior Faculty in Dr. Dong M. Shin’s group and was promoted to Instructor in 2009 and Assistant Professor (Research Track) in 2010. In 2009, he received a Career Development Award from the Emory Head and Neck Cancer SPORE for his outstanding proposal on chemoprevention of head and neck cancer with the natural compounds EGCG and luteolin. Subsequently, he was awarded two RO3 grants from the National Cancer Institute and the Robbins Scholar Award from the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and was promoted to tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2013. He joined Marshall University School of Pharmacy in July 2017 and was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 2023. He was awarded the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy Collaborative Grant in collaboration with Dr. Piyali Dasgupta from the School of Medicine. He also received several grants from WV-INBRE. Recently, he received an R15 from NIH.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death, with about 1.92 million projected new diagnoses and about 609K deaths in 2023 in the USA. Despite tremendous improvements in conventional treatment modalities and the invention of new approaches, such as immunotherapy and cell therapy, the outcome is disappointing for many cancers with a low response rate. Moreover, the short duration of response due to acquired resistance as well as disease recurrence is posing additional challenges. The Cancer Genome Atlas project has identified many molecular targets associated with disease initiation, progression, and therapy resistance. Dr. Amin’s professional goals are pursuing excellence in research and scholarship and a commitment to providing leadership in this area. The goal of Dr. Amin’s research is to develop safe and effective preventive and therapeutic approaches to combat cancer through understanding the molecular mechanism of carcinogenesis, drug response and drug resistance. My research interests focus on three major areas: (1) the development of new therapeutic and preventive strategies (from bench to bedside) for the effective treatment and prevention of cancer and the study of their mechanism of action (signal transduction); (2) increase the efficacy and safety of currently available drugs by modifying delivery systems using nanoparticle-based drug delivery and (3) uncover the cellular and molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis and anti-cancer drugs (biomarkers of carcinogenesis and drug response/resistance). To achieve my research goal, I would like to establish a research team with interdisciplinary interests, such as synthetic chemists, biomedical scientists, clinicians, and basic scientists, through intra- and inter-institutional collaborations and develop single PI as well as multi-PI research projects for extramural funding.
Chemoprevention of head and neck cancer using natural and synthetic compounds. Carcinogenesis is a complex, lengthy process that sometimes requires decades to develop, involves complex genetic and environmental interactions and progresses from precancer (hyperplasia, dysplasia, carcinoma in-situ) to invasive carcinoma. The lengthy developmental processes provide enormous opportunities for early intervention at precancerous stages using non-toxic compounds (chemoprevention). Because of their safety profiles, natural dietary agents are attractive for chemoprevention purposes.
Project 1: Chemoprevention of head and neck cancer using curcumin analog FLLL12: Curcumin is a dietary compound isolated from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, commonly known as “haldi” and has been studied extensively for chemoprevention and treatment. Unfortunately, the clinical success was hindered by its poor absorption and rapid metabolic degradation leading to poor bioavailability. To circumvent the bioavailability issue, researchers are undertaking multiple approaches, including the synthesis of more potent analogs with better pharmacokinetic profiles. My laboratory is developing FLLL12 for the chemoprevention of head and neck cancer. We have already shown that FLLL12 is more potent, has favorable pharmacokinetic profiles, and is mechanistically distinct from curcumin (PMID: 25917567, 26511491, 25910231, 34146588). Grants: R15 (funded), R01: Pending
Project 2: Chemoprevention of head and neck cancer using a combination of green tea EGCG and resveratrol: EGCG (from green tea) and resveratrol are two other diet-derived natural compounds studied extensively for their chemopreventive efficacy. Despite some trends, however, single-agent interventions were not successful in clinical trials. Supported by Winship Cancer Institute internal grant and WV-INBRE funding, my laboratory is developing a combination of EGCG and resveratrol for the chemoprevention of head and neck cancer. Our preclinical data showed that the combination of EGCG and resveratrol induced synergistic apoptosis by modulating the PI3-K-AKT-mTOR pathway (PMID: 33864659). We further demonstrated that the combination is also effective in preventing carcinogen-induced head and neck cancer (AACR Annual Meeting-2022).
Developing DNA Damaging Curcumin Analog as Novel Chemotherapy Drug
Most of the currently available chemotherapy drugs are DNA-damaging agents that are effective in eradicating cancer cells. Unfortunately, most of them are very toxic. Moreover, their widespread application is compromised by intrinsic and acquired resistance. In collaboration with Dr. Long, we have synthesized a curcumin analog that is highly potent, mechanistically distinct from curcumin and FLLL12 and induces DNA damage. My laboratory will further explore the mechanism of action and develop this novel DNA-damaging compound for the treatment of cancers.
Drug Resistance and RANi Library Screening for Synthetic Lethality: Apoptosis resistance is one of the major challenges for treatment failures and disease recurrence. One area of the research focus of my lab is to understand the mechanism of apoptosis resistance and develop strategies to sensitize resistant cells. Our previous studies have identified that single targeting of EGFR in HNC induced growth arrest rather than apoptosis (PMID: 28119490, 19470788, 23422093, 25860284). Co-targeting of EGFR and PI3K sensitized many of these cell lines to apoptosis, but some of them are resistant. Further studies revealed that PI3K-independent phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 or Src-dependent phosphorylation of Met confers apoptosis resistance of these cell lines. However, the underlying mechanism of resistance, particularly the downstream targets, is poorly understood. The synthetic lethality concept is a useful tool to understand drug resistance as well as sensitize them to apoptosis. To search for key regulators related to drug resistance to anti-EGFR (cetuximab, erlotinib), anti-PI3K (BKM120) therapies, or co-targeting of EGFR and PI3K, we will conduct a small interfering RNA-based synthetic lethal screening method and apoptosis assay will be used as a readout. Possible siRNA hits that sensitize resistance cells to apoptosis with cetuximab, erlotinib, and BKM120 will be identified by library screening. Further validation of possible hits will be done using the deconvoluted siRNAs. Functional characterization of associated genes in drug resistance will be confirmed by ectopic expression of genes using retroviral vectors. Subsequent studies will be designed to develop a combinatorial regimen that successfully eradicates resistant cancer cells.
I strongly believe that all students can learn but have different learning styles. My role as a teacher is to provide learning opportunities for students to develop intellectually, mentally, and socially and use motivation, encouragement, and guidance. The goals of my teaching are to provide the best possible environment, multiple ways of learning the material, and all the additional tools required for successful learning. My teaching philosophy revolves around three words: dedication, knowledge, and methodology. As a teacher, it is my mission to dedicate myself to my students and their learning of the material. I believe that teachers should be knowledge driven. As a teacher, I want to present myself as a reliable resource for my students so that the correct information is available to them during this critical time when access to the internet provides multiple sources of information with many distractions. I believe in interactive teaching engaging students in the learning process by using various active teaching techniques. In conclusion, I understand that teaching is teamwork and success can be achieved through effective cooperation among teachers, students, and other individuals associated with the course.
Therapeutics II: PHAR652 Cardio and Pulmonary Disorder (Course Coordinator)
Therapeutics III: Gastrointestinal, Hepatic and Renal Disorders
Therapeutics VI: PHAR761 Cancers, Blood, and Bone Diseases