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  8. Syed Ali
  1. Science & Research (NCTR)

Syed Ali Ph.D.

Head of Neurochemistry Laboratory — Division of Neurotoxicology

Syed Ali
Syed Ali, Ph.D., Fellow ATS, FRSC

(870) 543-7391

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 About  |  Publications  |  Lab Members


Dr. Syed Ali has a bachelor’s degree (Hons), a master’s degree, a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree, and a Ph.D. in neurochemistry/neurotoxicology from the Interdisciplinary Brain Research Center, J.N. Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India. Dr. Ali is a senior biomedical research scientist at NCTR, and is the head of the Neurochemistry Laboratory in the Division of Neurotoxicology at NCTR. He holds adjunct professorships at:

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas
    • Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    • Neurology
    • Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina
    • Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology

Dr. Ali completed postdoctoral fellowships at:

  • J.N. Medical College
  • Aligarh Muslim University
  • NIH International Fogarty Fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/NIH in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • University of Arkansas Medical Sciences

After his postdoctoral fellowships, Dr. Ali joined the staff at NCTR in 1983 and since 2000, he has been promoted to senior biomedical research scientist. Dr. Ali is an elected Fellow of Academy of Toxicological Sciences and was recently elected as Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC).

Research Interests

Dr. Ali’s research interests focus on the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms of oxidative stress and free radical-induced neurodegeneration and potential neuroprotective mechanisms of antioxidants. His laboratory has demonstrated that selective central nervous system-acting drugs, drugs of abuse, dietary supplements, environmental agents, pesticides, and organometals can induce neurotoxicity by generating free radicals. Using different pharmacological and genetic approaches, his laboratory has demonstrated that peroxynitrite is responsible in methamphetamine (METH)-induced dopaminergic neurotoxicity. Dr. Ali has used the MPTP-mouse model of Parkinson’s disease to examine the neuroprotective role of nitric oxide inhibitors, protease inhibitors, and selective dopaminergic agonists and antagonists. Currently, Dr. Ali’s laboratory focus is on the use of microvascular endothelial cells as a model of the blood-brain barrier to study traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the use of antioxidants as potential treatments of TBI.

The use of silver, gold, copper, manganese, and aluminum nanoparticles and other nanomaterials, such as graphene, single or double-wall carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and titanium oxide, is becoming more widespread in commercial applications, such as the computer industry and drug-delivery systems. Because of their nanosize, the properties of nanoparticles differ significantly from those of bulk materials and their interaction with biological systems is still unknown. Dr. Ali’s laboratory is also studying the effects of nanomaterials on the central nervous system. He has demonstrated that nanoparticles can generate oxidative stress and free radicals, which may in turn produce neurotoxicity. Graphene and CNTs are considered to have revolutionized the field of nanotechnology and nanomedicine because of their light weight. However, this property can be potentially hazardous if it allows graphene or CNTs to reach the lung and blood stream after environmental exposure. Using in vitro and in vivo approaches, he plans to investigate whether graphenes and CNTs can produce any adverse effects on cellular systems due to their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. In addition, Dr. Ali’s laboratory is also investigating the effects of cell-phone radiation on blood-brain barrier integrity using cell-culture models and whole animals.

Professional Societies/National and International Groups

Symposium organizer
2015, 2017

International Congress of Toxicology
Co-chair and symposium organizer
2009 – Present

International Drug Abuse Research Society (IDARS)
Founding member and executive officer
2009 – Present

Symposium organizer

International Neurotoxicology Association and Neurotoxicity Society
Symposium organizer

International Society for Neurochemistry
Co-chair and symposium organizer

Society of Toxicology (SOT)
1983 – Present

SOT Meeting, San Antonio
Continuing Education Course, “Advances in Nanotoxicology: Challenges: Effects of Nanomaterials on Biological Systems”

South Central Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (SCC-SOT)
Founding member, councilor, secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president
1990 – 1995



Selected Publications

The Role of Surface Chemistry in the Cytotoxicity Profile of Graphene.
Majeed W., Bourdo S., Petibone D., Saini V., Vang K., Nima Z., Alghazali K., Darrigues E., Ghosh A., Watanabe F., Casciano D., Ali S., and Biris A.
J Appl Toxicol. 2016 Sep, doi: 10.1002/jat.3379.

Regulation of Striatal Astrocytic Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-Products Variants in an Early Stage of Experimental Parkinson’s Disease.
Viana S., Valero J., Rodrigues-Santos P., Couceiro P., Silva A., Carvalho F., Ali S., Fontes-Ribeiro C., and Pereira F.
J Neurochem. 2016 Aug, 138(4): 598-609.

Role of Silver Nanoparticles (AgNPs) on the Cardiovascular System.
Gonzalez C., Rosas-Hernandez H., Ramirez-Lee M., Salazar-Garcia S., and Ali S.
Arch Toxicol. 2016 Mar; 90(3): 493-511.

Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Induce Dopaminergic Damage: In Vitro Pathways and In Vivo Imaging Reveals Mechanism of Neuronal Damage.
Imam S., Lantz-McPeak S., Cuevas E., Rosas-Hernandez H., Liachenko S., Zhang Y., Sarkar S., Ramu J., Robinson B., Jones Y., Gough B., Paule M., Ali S., and Binienda Z.
Mol Neurobiol. 2015 Oct, 52(2): 913-26.

Substance P Exacerbates Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration Through Neurokinin-1 Receptor-Independent Activation of Microglia NADPH Oxidase.
Wang Q., Chu C., Qian L., Chen S., Wilson B., Oyarzazabal E., Jiang L., Ali S., Robinson B., Kim H., and Hong J.
J Neurosci. 2014 Sep, 34(37): 12490-503.

Zebrafish Model in Drug Safety Assessment.
Kanungo J., Cuevas E., Ali S., and Paule M.
Curr Pharm Des. 2014, 20(34): 5416-29.

Evidence for a Role of Transporter-Mediated Currents in the Depletion of Brain Serotonin Induced by Serotonin Transporter Substrates.
Baumann M., Bulling S., Benaderet T., Saha K., Ayestas M., Partilla J., Ali S., Stockner T., Rothman R., Sandtner W., and Sitte H.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 May, 39(6): 1355-65.

Porcine Brain Microvessel Endothelial Cells Show Pro-Inflammatory Response to the Size and Composition of Metallic Nanoparticles.
Trickler W., Lantz-McPeak S., Robinson B., Paule M., Slikker W. Jr., Biris A., Schlager J., Hussain S., Kanungo J., Gonzalez C., and Ali S.
Drug Metab Rev. 2014 May, 46(2): 224-31.

Food, Nutrigenomics, and Neurodegeneration-Neuroprotection by What You Eat!
Virmani A., Pinto L., Binienda Z., and Ali S.
Mol Neurobiol. 2013 Oct, 48(2): 353-62.

Neuroprotective Efficacy of a New Brain-Penetrating c-Abl Inhibitor in a Murine Parkinson's Disease Model.
Imam S., Trickler W., Kimura S., Binienda Z., Paule M., Slikker W. Jr., Li S., Clark R., and Ali S.
PLoS One. 2013 May, 8(5): e65129.

Effects of Copper Nanoparticles on Rat Cerebral Microvessel Endothelial Cells.
Trickler W., Lantz S., Schrand A., Robinson B., Newport G., Schlager J., Paule M., Slikker W., Biris A., Hussain S., and Ali S.
Nanomedicine. (Lond) 2012 Jun, 7(6): 835-46.

Molecular Aspect of Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration: Gene-Environment Interaction in Parkin Dysfunction.
Ali S., Binienda Z., and Imam S.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Dec, 8(12): 4702-13.

Brain Microvessel Endothelial Cells Responses to Gold Nanoparticles: In Vitro Pro-Inflammatory Mediators and Permeability. 
Trickler W., Lantz S., Murdock R., Schrand A., Robinson B., Newport G., Schlager J., Oldenburg S., Paule M., Slikker W. Jr., Hussain S., and Ali S.
Nanotoxicology. 2011 Dec, 5(4):479-92.

Mechanistic Toxicity Evaluation of Uncoated and PEGylated Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in Neuronal PC12 Cells.
Zhang Y., Xu Y., Li Z., Chen T., Lantz S., Howard P., Paule M., Slikker W. Jr., Watanabe F., Mustafa T., Biris A., and Ali S.
ACS Nano. 2011 Sep, 5(9): 7020-33.

β2 Adrenergic Receptor Activation Prevents Rodent Dopaminergic Neurotoxicity by Inhibiting Microglia via a Novel Signaling Pathway. 
Qian L., Wu H., Chen S., Zhang D., Ali S., Peterson L., Wilson B., Lu R., Hong J., and Flood P.
J Immunol. 2011 Apr, 186(7): 4443-54.

Understanding the Global Problem of Drug Addiction is a Challenge for IDARS Scientists.
Ali S., Onaivi E., Dodd P., Cadet J., Schnek S., Kuhar M., and Koob G.
Curr Neuropharmacol. 2011 Mar, 9(1): 2-7.

Consequences of Cannabinoid and Monoaminergic System Disruption in a Mouse Model of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Onaivi E., Benno R., Halpern T., Mehanovic M., Schanz N., Sanders C., Yan X., Ishiguro H., Liu Q., Berzal A., Viveros M., and Ali S. 
Curr Neuropharmacol. 2011 Mar, 9(1): 209.

Novel Regulation of Parkin Function Through C-Abl-Mediated Tyrosine Phosphorylation: Implications for Parkinson’s Disease.
Imam S., Zhou Q., Yamamoto A., Valente A., Ali S., Bains M., Roberts J., Kahle P., Clark R., and Li S.
J Neurosci. 2011 Jan, 31: 157-163.

Silver Nanoparticles Induced Blood-Brain Barrier Inflammation and Increased Permeability in Primary Rat Brain Microvessel Endothelial Cells.
Trickler W., Lantz S., Murdock R., Schrand A., Robinson B., Newport G., Schlager J., Oldenburg S., Paule M., Slikker W. Jr., Hussain S., and Ali S.
Toxicol Sci. 2010 Nov, 118: 160-170.

Cytotoxicity Effects of Graphene and Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes in Neural Phaeochromocytoma-Derived PC12 Cells.
Zhang Y., Ali S., Dervishi E., Xu Y., Li Z., Casciano D., and Biris A.
ACS Nano. 2010 Jun, 4(6): 3181- 3186.


Lab Members

Contact information for all lab members:
(870) 543-7391

Elvis Cuevas, Ph.D.
Staff Fellow

Susan Lantz

Bonnie Robinson, HT (ASCP)
Biological Science Laboratory Technician

Hector Rosas-Hernandez, Ph.D.
ORISE Post-doctoral fellow


Contact Information
Syed Ali
(870) 543-7391
Technology & Discipline
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