Zayed University faculty member makes remarkable strides in drug design


April 7, 2016

Dr. Alya A. Arabi, Assistant Professor at the College of Sustainability Sciences and Humanities at Zayed University, has made remarkable strides in advancing scientific research in drug design.   

Dr. Arabi received her PhD in Chemistry from Dalhousie University in Canada in 2012. Prior to starting her graduate studies in 2008, she was awarded a Bachelor of Sciences Honours degree with highest GPA from Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada.

Alya AlArabiThe research, titled “Investigation of the Bioisosteric Relationship of Tetrazole and Carboxylic Acid Groups using Electrostatic Potentials and the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules (QTAIM) Analysis”, is a joint cooperation between Dr. Arabi at Zayed University and Professor Cherif Matta at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and Professor Donald Weaver at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  

The research was recognized and acknowledged at the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) International Chemistry Conference on Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry.

The NYUAD International Chemistry Conference assembles an expert group of scientists at the forefront of Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry to promote new research avenues and cross-disciplinary perspectives at NYUAD and within the broader international community.  

“This work is a computational study to investigate bioisosterism in drug design. Bioisosteres are functional groups that can be interchangeably used in drug molecules without affecting the biological activity with the receptor. However, this interchange can fine-tune the metabolic activity (reducing side effects) and the physiochemical profile (increasing the half-life of the drug). The bioisosteres of this study are related to treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson and Epilepsy,” Dr. Arabi, said.

A follow up on this study has been recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Future Medicinal Chemistry under the title “Electrostatic Potentials and Average Electron Densities of Bioisosteres in Methylsquarate and Acetic Acid” [FMC, 2016, 8(4), 361-371].

“I am highly appreciative and grateful to Zayed University for allocating funds towards scientific research in order to build a knowledge-oriented economy and to encourage students at Zayed University to engage into the intellectually thrilling field of scientific research,” Dr. Arabi said.

Research Incentive Fund (RIF) was granted from Zayed University to a group of faculty members at Zayed University including: Dr. Alya A. Arabi, Professor Fares M. Howari and Dr. Amal ElAmin to cooperate with Dr. Mohammad Eid from NYUAD in a research that studies the effect of Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the genetic code carrier, DNA.  

Zayed University is also funding another scientific research project, which aims at understanding, at the molecular level, the cardiovascular disease observed in diabetic patients. This research is a joint cooperation between Dr. Lina Al Kury and Dr. Alya A. Arabi from Zayed University and Professor Murat Oz and Professor Chris Howarth from UAE University.

“Curiosity and serious commitment make a successful researcher” Dr. Arabi said.