Waqar Arif

Biochemistry Graduate Student (MSP Program)

Schools of Molecular Cell Biology and College of Medicine

B.S. Biochemistry - University of Toledo

Started in Lab: December 2013


Funding: Pre-doctoral NRSA from NIH/NIDDK (2016-2020)
Craig Fellowship (Summer 2015)


Arif W, Datar G and Kalsotra A (2017) Intersections of post-transcriptional gene regulatory mechanisms with intermediary metabolism.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1860(3):349-362. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2017.01.004.

Bhate A*, Parker DJ*, Bebee TW, Ahn J, Arif W, Rashan EH, Chorghade S, Chau A, Lee JH, Anakk S, Carstens RP, Xiao X and Kalsotra A (2015) ESRP2 controls an adult splicing program in hepatocytes to support postnatal liver maturation.
Nat. Commun. 6:8768 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9768 | * denotes equal authors

Chaturvedi P, Neelamraju Y, Arif W, Kalsotra A, and Janga SC (2015). "Uncovering RNA binding proteins associated with age and gender during liver maturation."
Sci. Rep. 5: 9512 doi:10.1038/srep09512

Arif W, Xu S, Isailovic D, Geldenhuys WJ, Carroll RT, Funk MO (2011). “Complexes of the outer mitochondrial membrane protein MitoNEET with resveratrol-3-sulfate.” Biochemistry. 50(25):5806-11. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bi200546s


Hey there! My name is Waqar. I am an M.D./Ph.D student in the Medical Scholars Program here at UIUC. Since the start of high school I dreamed of becoming a doctor. However, that dream slightly changed during my undergrad. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work in a biochemistry lab and study an interesting protein called mitoNEET. After performing my first experiment, I immediately gained a passion for research. And so I decided to pursue an M.D./Ph.D program to allow me to study both medicine and gain experience in research.

During my studies as an undergrad, I realized that the cell is a highly complex (and confusing) system. I am amazed of all the different things a cell does within a tiny volume to survive. It has developed intricate networks for signaling, gene expression, etc. On top of that, each network is regulated to allow the cell to fine tune its efficiency/output. It was recently discovered that majority of human genes are alternatively spliced i.e. one gene produces more than one mRNA species, which increases the diversity (and complexity) of the transcriptome. This has a major impact on other gene regulatory mechanisms such as mRNA transcription, stability, localization, and translation. The complexity and extensive cross-talk between these different regulatory mechanisms intrigued me and so here I am in Dr. Kalsotra’s lab which focuses on studying role of RNA processing in tissue development and disease. My project in the lab is to dissect the role of SR family of splicing regulatory proteins in postnatal liver development. I am using tissue-specific gene knockouts, RNA sequencing, and computational methods to address these exciting questions.

In my free time I enjoy understanding and constructing electronic circuits. I have recently moved into learning how to program so that I can control the different circuits I build. Aside from biology I also enjoy learning physics and mathematics.