Mootaz Salman


After graduating with a Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours (BPharm(Hons)) from the University of Mosul, I studied for Masters and Doctoral degrees at Sheffield Hallam University. Working with Professor Nicola Woodroofe and Dr Matthew Conner, my PhD project investigated the mechanisms of water channel translocation in human brain cells. I discovered a novel pharmacological framework for developing new drugs to treat traumatic brain injury, brain oedema and stroke.

I held my first postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital working with Professor Tom Kirchhausen. The project was in collaboration with Biogen®. I aimed to understand the cellular physiology of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in order to exploit the mechanisms involved in improving the effectiveness of therapeutic antibodies. The project involved developing an in vitro microphysiological 3D model that can be used for multiple high-resolution imaging modalities. I used transmission electron microscopy (TEM), 3D live fluorescence imaging, spinning disk confocal microscopy and advanced lattice light sheet microscopy (LLSM) to study the trans-BBB trafficking of fluorescently-labelled therapeutic proteins and antibodies.

I joined the Wade-Martins group in late 2020. As part of Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre (OPDC), the aim of my project was to contribute to the development of novel therapeutic target discovery for Parkinson’s. I used CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering of highly physiologically-relevant human iPSC lines from Parkinson’s patients differentiated into dopaminergic neurons to investigate molecular disease mechanisms and validate new therapeutic hits. The project was in collaboration with GSK® which offered an exciting opportunity to work at the translational interface of academic and industry target discovery and drug development.

Research Interests

I am a Research Lecturer and Leverhulme Trust Fellow. I am interested in investigating mechanisms of blood-brain barrier (dys)function in neurodegenerative diseases using patient-derived stem cells, gene editing (CRISPR-Cas 9) and organ-on-a-chip technologies.