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Dr Bilal Malik

Dr Bilal Malik

Research Associate (Wellcome Trust ISSF Fellow)

School of Biosciences

Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ


Research Overview

I am a neurobiologist interested in uncovering the principles of nervous system function and mechanism of neurodegenerative disease. To this end, I use Drosophila as a model system and techniques in genetics, imaging, molecular biology and behaviour to answer specific questions. My research interests include:

  1. Identification of novel modulators of endo-lysosomal and autophagic pathway.
  2. Genetic investigation of Alzheimer’s disease using Drosophila as a model system.
  3. Understanding the role of sleep in Alzheimer’s disease and how this affects autophagy

Research Funding

2020-Wellcome Trust, ISSF

2018- CUROP studentship for supervising a summer student project.

2016- Ramanujan Fellowship, DST, India (5 year fellowship)









Student Supervision

I supervise short-term student projects in the lab including Summer Students projects. I secure funding for these students to work alongside me for a short period on a small project to provide training in research.

Teaching/Practical course delivery

I have been involved in teaching at the Undergraduate level. I also lead SSC projects for second year Medical Students. I help and in the development and delivery of practical courses for Undergraduates.

Journal Clubs

I supervise Masters student Journal clubs which review recent literature on a chosen topic and preparing a presentations for a departmental panel.

Identification of novel modulators of endo-lysosomal and autophagic pathway.

Autophagy is a lysosome-mediated degradation response of the cell for self preservation during stress and starvation, removing waste and dysfunctional organelles while at the same time generating raw material such as amino acids. Defects in autophagy are emergings as a common events in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, suggesting the essential role for this process in maintaining neuron health.

We are using genetic manipulation and state-of-the-art confocal microscopy to understand the dynamics of autophagy in the nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster. Identification of novel modulators not only broadens our understanding of the mechanisms involved in neurodegeneration but also opens newer avenues for therapeutic intervention.

Genetic investigation of Alzheimer’s disease using Drosophila as a model system.

Using Drosophila as a model system we are investigating how various mutations associated with AD and FTD lead to defects in neuronal and organismal survival. We are exploring how these mutations affect autophagy and whether we can genetically rescue it. We employ microscopy, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology and longevity assays to support our findings.


Early career researcher forum

I am the co-Chair of Early career researchers forum at Cardiff university. This is part of an initiative by Dementia Research institute (UKDRI) to provide Early career researchers a platform to share ideas, problems, protocols and an opportunity to network. This forum is now joined by similar networks at other DRI institues to share its benefits more widely.

Workshop organisation

I am constatntly looking for opportunities to organise workshops on current methodologies in neuroscience. I recently coorganised 'Flytech' a  workshop on techniques in Drosophila biology. Dr. Filip Port was the external speaker at this event.

External profiles