Dr Shabih Shakeel
Laboratory Head and Principal Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry & Pharmacology
What does your research focus on and why is it important?
I am a structural biologist and, as the name suggests, I build models of biological molecules such as proteins to know how these proteins look in atomic details. The structure of biological molecules is highly co-related with their function, therefore, understanding these structures tells us what these biological molecules do in our body.
What did you learn from your biggest mistake?
As a scientist, I always analyse my mistakes such as what, why and how they went wrong and I treat them as learning opportunities to help me develop into a better person.
How do you see your area of research evolving in the next five years?
As a structural biologist, I isolate my biological molecules of interest from cells and observe them under a powerful microscope called a transmission electron microscope, which can visualise things 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. In the next five years, I envision that I would not need to isolate proteins from cells and instead I can deep dive into the cells, identify my molecule of interest and determine its structure in atomic details. Such kind of imaging gives us the advantage of understanding how my molecule of interest behaves in its native state, where it is surrounded by many other molecules around it.