Dr. Maryam Ahmed


  • Ph.D. Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
  • B.A. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Professional Experience:

  • Research Assistant Professor: Department of Biochemistry; Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Post-doctoral: Department of Microbiology and Immunology; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Areas of Interest:

  • Virus-host interactions
  • Viral pathogenesis
  • Immune responses to virus infections
  • Development of oncolytic viruses
  • Cancer therapies


Studying the response of different cells to virus infections is critical in understanding viral pathogenesis and developing virus-based therapeutics. My research focuses on the mechanisms by which specific cells, such as cancer cells and immune cells, respond to a prototype negative strand RNA virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).

VSV is currently being developed as an oncolytic agent due to its ability to potently kill a variety of cancer cells. However, the success of VSV-based cancer therapies is determined by several factors including the permissiveness of cancer cells to virus infection, the ability of the virus to spread through tumor tissues, and the ability of the host immune response to promote anti-tumor responses. We are interested in determining the potential of VSV as an anti-tumor agent for the treatment of highly aggressive tumors by investigating these factors in cell culture models and in small animal models of breast and prostate cancers. Furthermore, we are currently developing combination therapeutic strategies that may serve to promote tumor cell killing by VSV and enhance anti-tumor immune responses.

Selected Publications:

1.    Polzin, M., J. McCanless, S. Owen, D. Sizemore, E. Lucero, R. Fuller, H.S. Neufeld, D.F. Seals, and M. Ahmed. 2020. Oncolytic matrix protein mutant of vesicular stomatitis virus modulates the phenotype of macrophage populations. Virus ResearchIn press.

2.    Daly, Christina, B. Logan, J. Breeyear, K. Whitaker, M. Ahmed and D.F. Seals.  2020. Tks5 SH3 domains mutations differentially co-localize with invadopodia-associated gelatin matrix degradation in Src-3T3 cells. PLOS ONE. In press.

3.    Brown, A., J. Emrani, C.N. Mowa,, and M. Ahmed. 2019. Moringa oleifera and Vesicular Stomatitis Virus: A Combination Approach for the Treatment of Cervical Cancers. 2019. South African Journal of Botany. 21 (35)

4.    Smith, B, T. Orders, J. Slate, S. Bauldry, J. Emrani, J. Idassi, M. Ahmed, J. Cecile, S. Bailey, N-A. Nguyen, and C. N. Mowa. 2019. Proteomics analysis reveals that Moringa Oleifera kills Escherichia Coli by altering multiple biological processes. South African J. of Botany. In press.

5.    Fehl, D. and M. Ahmed. 2017. Curcumin promotes the oncolytic capacity of vesicular stomatitis virus for the treatment of prostate cancers. Virus Research. 15 (228) 14-23.

6.    Ahmed, M., D.A. Henson, M.C. Sanderson, D.C. Nieman, N.D. Gillitt, and M.A. Lila. 2015. Supplement to: The protective effects of a polyphenol-enriched protein powder on exercise-induced susceptibility to virus infection. World Biomedical Frontiers: Infection and Immunityhttp://biomedfrontiers.org/inf-2015-7-19/

7.    Ahmed, M., D.A. Henson, M.C. Sanderson, D.C. Nieman, J.M. Zubeldia, and R.A. Shanely. 2015. Rhodiola rosea exerts anti-viral activity in athletes following a competitive marathon race. Frontiers in Nutrition: Sport and Exercise Nutrition. 2 (24).

8.    Ahmed, M., D.A. Henson, M.C. Sanderson, D.C. Nieman, N.D. Gillitt, and M.A. Lila. 2014. The protective effects of a polyphenol-enriched protein powder on exercise-induced susceptibility to virus infection. Phytotherapy Research. 28(12)1829-36.

9.  Smedberg, J.R., Westcott, M.M., Ahmed, M., and D. S. Lyles. 2014. Signaling pathways in murine dendritic cells that regulate the response to vesicular stomatitis virus vectors that express flagellin. Journal of Virology. 88 (2):777-85.

10.  Westcott, M., Ahmed, M., Smedberg, J.R., Rajani, K.R., Hiltbold, E. M., and D.S. Lyles. 2013. Preservation of dendritic cell function during vesicular stomatitis virus infection reflects both intrinsic and acquired mechanisms of resistance to suppression of host gene expression by viral M protein. Journal of Virology. 87(21): 11730-40.

11.  Stewart, J.H., Ahmed, M., Northrup, S.A., Willingham, M., and D.S. Lyles. 2011. Vesicular stomatitis virus as a treatment for colorectal cancer. Cancer Gene Therapy. 18(12): 837-49.



Title: Professor, Viral Pathogenesis and Immunity
Department: Department of Biology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-2677

Office address
Rankin Science North 215