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Ashar Jamil Malik

Doctor of Philosophy, (Biochemistry)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Exploring Deep Phylogenies Using Protein Structures

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Establishing evolutionary relationships between proteins allows insight into their respective functions. This is commonly performed using sequence-based phylogenetic analysis, which struggles with increasing dissimilarity between proteins compared, and consequently cannot be used for highly diverged sequences. This creates a gap in the understanding of protein behaviour. Protein sequences change faster than protein structures, creating an opportunity for the structure to be probed for evolutionary signals that escape sequence-based methods. Mr Malik developed a new method to recover robust structural phylogenies by making use of molecular dynamics simulations to add statistical support. This method was used to elucidate relationships between evolutionarily diverged proteins, which was previously not possible. His research showed empirical structure-based analysis can be used to recover robust evolutionary relationships, thus filling the gap created by conventional sequence-based methods when analysing deeply diverged proteins.

Associate Professor Jane Allison
Associate Professor Anthony Poole
Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger