Gillings School Directory

S. Raza Shaikh, PhD

Dr. S. Raza Shaikh

S. Raza Shaikh, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition
Associate Chair for Research
Department of Nutrition
S. Raza Shaikh is an associate professor with more than 10 years of experience as a researcher, who specializes in the study of how dietary fatty acids and their metabolites regulate immunological and metabolic responses in obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Shaikh currently is focusing his expertise on understanding how metabolites synthesized from dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, known as specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs) can be developed to enhance the function of antibody secreting B cells in pre-clinical and clinical models of health and disease. He also is working on ways to improve the function of mitochondria, which are the energy producing hubs in a cell. Finally, he is conducting a clinical study on diet and inflammation.

Dr. Shaikh previously was an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. In 2012, he was awarded the Early Career Award from the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids for his research on n-3 fatty acids. In 2018, he received an award for his research from the American Society for Nutrition.

Honors and Awards

Early Career Award

2012, ISSFAL

Five Year Achievement Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity

2016, East Carolina University

Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award

2018, American Society for Nutrition

Teaching Interests

Dr. Shaikh has expertise in teaching lipid biochemistry, nutritional immunology and metabolism. He has previously taught graduate courses on medical biochemistry and nutritional metabolism.

Research Activities

Research in the Shaikh lab is broadly focused on understanding how dietary fatty acids and their metabolites regulate immunological and metabolic outcomes in obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The lab vertically integrates differing model systems including biomimetic membranes, cell culture, transgenic/knockout mice and human subjects. The lab uniquely fuses techniques from lipid biochemistry, membrane biophysics, and nutritional immunology to address questions related to the following major projects.

The first project aims to understand how metabolites known as specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators, which generally are deficient in obese subjects, can be used therapeutically to boost innate and adaptive immunity in pre-clinical and clinical models. Efforts focus on the mechanisms by which the metabolites target specific receptors to improve immunological responses mediated by B cells in addition to macrophages and select T cells.  

Another project addresses how mitochondrial inner membrane structure-function is impaired in response to modifications to the mitochondrial-specific phospholipid known as cardiolipin. Investigation centers on how the remodeling of cardiolipin fatty acyl chains, as observed in Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, impairs oxidative phosphorylation enzyme activity and the formation of mitochondrial structures known as supercomplexes.

Several additional projects currently are in development, including some epidemiological work and a phase I clinical trial is starting, which is focused on novel fatty acids and inflammation.

Service Activities

Dr. Shaikh is involved in organizing events and conferences for national and international meetings for differing societies. Dr. Shaikh currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry and Frontiers in Nutrition and is an associate editor of Prostglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids. Dr. Shaikh previously has done extensive work with diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Key Publications

17β-Estradiol Directly Lowers Mitochondrial Membrane Microviscosity and Improves Bioenergetic Function in Skeletal Muscle. Torres MJ, Kew KA, Ryan TE, Pennington ER, Lin CT, Buddo KA, Fix AM, Smith CA, Gilliam LA, Karvinen S, Lowe DA, Spangenburg EE, Zeczycki TN, Shaikh SR, Neufer PD. (2018). Cell Metabolism, 27(1), 167-179.e7.

Docosahexaenoic acid lowers cardiac mitochondrial enzyme activity by replacing linoleic acid in the phospholipidome. Sullivan EM, Pennington ER, Sparagna GC, Torres MJ, Neufer PD, Harris M, Washington J, Anderson EJ, Zeczycki TN, Brown DA, Shaikh SR (2018). Journal of Biological Chemistry, 293(2), 466-483.

B Cell Activity Is Impaired in Human and Mouse Obesity and Is Responsive to an Essential Fatty Acid upon Murine Influenza Infection. Kosaraju R, Guesdon W, Crouch MJ, Teague HL, Sullivan EM, Karlsson EA, Schultz-Cherry S, Gowdy K, Bridges LC, Reese LR, Neufer PD, Armstrong M, Reisdorph N, Milner JJ, Beck M, Shaikh SR (2017). Journal of Immunology, 198(12), 4738-4752.

Murine Diet-Induced Obesity Remodels Cardiac and Liver Mitochondrial Phospholipid Acyl Chains with Differential Effects on Respiratory Enzyme Activity. Sullivan EM, Fix A, Crouch MJ, Sparagna GC, Zeczycki TN, Brown DA, Shaikh SR (2017). Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 45(1), 94-103.

Expert Consensus Document: Mitochondrial Function as a Therapeutic Target in Heart Failure. Brown DA, Perry JB, Allen ME, Sabbah HN, Stauffer BL, Shaikh SR, Cleland JG, Colucci WS, Butler J, Voors AA, Anker SD, Pitt B, Pieske B, Filippatos G, Greene SJ, Gheorghiade M (2017). Nature Reviews Cardiology, 4(1), 238-250.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, 2008

PhD, Medical Biophysics, Indiana University, 2004

MS, Biology, Purdue University, 2001

BS, Psychology/Biology, Purdue University, 1998

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