Mr Muhammad Osama Shafiq

Research project: An investigation on the association of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types and gastrointestinal cancer: a UK based study.


Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are recognised as carcinogenic agents in humans. High risk HPV types are regarded as the most important aetiological factor for cervical cancer. HPVs have also been found to cause close to half of vaginal, penile, breast, anal, and oral cancers. These findings suggest that HPV DNA might be transported from the original infection site to other organs and may be responsible for the development of cancer in various organs. Indeed, our current published findings have shown the evidence for the presence of 10 high risk HPV types viral DNA other than 16 and 18 in freshly obtained human breast cancer tissue. Despite the medical importance and the high incidence rate of upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancers among the global population, there are no studies in the UK, to our knowledge, that are investigating the implication of HPV infection in UGI cancer development. Therefore, this study aims to determine the presence and the expression of 12 high-risk HPV types in biopsies of abnormal UGI tissues from a UK population patient. The output of this study will pave the way for future studies, which may include vaccine trials and will have an impact on medicine ultimately improving the welfare of people.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: An investigation on the association of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types and gastrointestinal cancer: a UK based study.
  • Research supervisor: Dr Hossein Ashrafi
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Mehmet Tevfik Dorak


I am currently in the process of completing a PhD degree in Cancer Biology, to complement my MSc Cancer Biology and MPhil and BS (Hons) in Biotechnology. In masters, my research project was to compare the growth response of human prostate cancer cell line DU145 to treatment with various types of CDK inhibitors and docetaxel, and completed the degree with distinction. During my MPhil, I completed a research project into genetic mutations in leukaemia patients, for which I achieved a Grade A.

Throughout my studies, I have acquired extensive laboratory skills, including PCR, electrophoresis, spectrophotometry, cell culture, growth inhibition studies, western blot, immunohistochemistry. Prior to my Masters studies I worked in the education department in Pakistan, where I developed skills in teaching, leadership, budget control and administration.

Areas of research interest

  • Oncology
  • HPV
  • Upper Gastrointestinal cancer


  • M.Sc. Cancer Biology, Kingston University, London, Distinction
  • M. Phil Biotechnology, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan
  • B.S. (Hon.) Biotechnology, Forman Christian College University, Lahore, Pakistan