Abraham Al-Amad

Former postdoctoral Researcher

Previous Education

B.S. Biochemistry
University of Strasbourg (Strasbourg, France).

M.S. Physiology and Pharmacology
University of Strasbourg (Strasbourg, France).

Ph.D. in Integrative Molecular Medicine
University of Zurich (Zurich, Switerland)


Strasbourg, France

Current Research

Eric Shusta Research Group
University of Wisconsin Madison
My main research of interest focuses on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) formation during development. The BBB is a neurovascular unit present at the interface between the blood flow and the brain parenchyma. Specialized brain endothelial cells interact with surrounding astroglial cells, pericytes, neurons and microglia, whereas the presence of a chemically defined basement membrane plays an important role as a scaffold for such interactions.

By its barrier function, the BBB represents a double-edged sword: loss of barrier function is associated with many neurological diseases (Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, multiple sclerosis…) but also its presence considerably limits penetrance of therapies required to fight such diseases.

Until now, lack of suitable in vitro model of the BBB constitutes the main pitfall in developing therapeutics. Using primary brain endothelial cells (rodents) and differentiated stem cells (human), we are designing novel in vitro models capable to overcome such obstacle and provide a suitable tool for a better understanding of changes in barrier function during health and disease states.

Previous Research

Dept of Molecular & Cellular Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center (College Station, Texas, USA).
Institute of Veterinary Physiology, University of Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland).
Dept of Therapeutical Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Strasbourg (Strasbourg, France).


Al Ahmad A, Lee B, Saini M, Bix G. Perlecan Domain V actively modulates cell migration, proliferation and astrogliosis in astrocytes through integrins alpha2beta1, alpha5beta1 and alpha-dystroglycan dependent pathways. Glia 2011 Aug 17.

Lee, B, Clarke DN, Al Ahmad A, Parham C, Kahle M, Auckland L, Shaw C, Dogruel M, Fidanboylu M, Orr A, Ogunshola OO, Fertala A, Thomas S, Bix G. Perlecan Domain V is Neuroprotective and Pro-Angiogenic Following Ischemic Brain Stroke in Mice and Rats. J Clin Invest, 2011 Aug 1;121(8):3005-23.

Al Ahmad A, Lee B, Stack J, Parham C, Campbell J, Clarke D, et al. Endostatin binds nerve growth factor and thereby inhibits neurite outgrowth and neuronal migration in-vitro. Brain Res. 2010 Nov 11;1360:28-39.

Clarke DN, Lee B, Al Ahmad A, Saini M, Bix G. Perlecan Domain V triggers VEGF secretion in murine brain endothelial cells through a5b1 integrin and activation of erk-dependent signaling pathways. Submitted to Blood journal.

Al Ahmad A, Gassmann M, Ogunshola OO. Maintaining blood-brain barrier integrity: pericytes perform better than astrocytes during prolonged oxygen deprivation. J Cell Physiol. 2009;218(3):612-22.

Al Ahmad A, Taboada CB, Gassmann M, Ogunshola OO. Astrocytes and pericytes differentially modulate blood-brain barrier characteristics during development and hypoxic insult. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2011 Feb;31(2):693-705.

Nait Chabane M, Al Ahmad A, Peluso J, Muller CD, Ubeaud G. Quercetin and naringenin transport across human intestinal Caco-2 cells. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009;61(11):1473-83.

Milane HA, Al Ahmad A, Naitchabane M, Vandamme TF, Jung L, Ubeaud G. Transport of quercetin di-sodium salt in the human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cell monolayer 139. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2007;32(3):139-47.