Dr. Waqas Tahir

Image Waqas Tahir
Research Scientist

Dr. Waqas Tahir is a Research Scientist and Head of the TSE unit, NCAD Lethbridge Laboratory at Canadian Food Inspection Agency/ Government of Canada. Dr. Tahir is also the head of the World Organization for Animal Health’s BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) reference lab in Canada. Additionally, Dr. Tahir is also an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Dr. Tahir’s research focuses on the identification of underlying molecular mechanisms of prion diseases, novel ante-mortem diagnostic biomarkers as well as sensitive detection methods for animal prion diseases.

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Tahir’s research focuses on the identification of underlying molecular mechanisms of prion diseases, novel ante-mortem diagnostic biomarkers as well as sensitive detection methods for animal prion diseases. In his research, Dr. Tahir amalgamates various high throughput approaches ranging from genomics, transcript-omics, differential proteomics and spectral confocal imaging using both in-vitro as well as in-vivo models. Ultimate goal of Dr. Tahir’s research is to develop technologies to promptly diagnose animal prion diseases for designing mitigation strategies in a timely manner to protect public health of Canadians and preserve food chain

Education and awards

PhD (Biology & Psychology)- 2012- 2016

(George August University, Göttingen, Lower saxony, Germany)

MPhil (Molecular Biology & Biotechnology)- 2009- 2011

(Institute of Biochemistry & Biotechnology, UVAS, Lahore, Pakistan)

DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)- 2003- 2008

(University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan)

International experience and/or work

Post- Doctoral Associate- 2017- 2021

(Calgary Prion Research Unit, Faculty of veterinary medicine, University of Calgary (UofC), Alberta, Canada)


Key publications

  1. Thapa S, Marrero Winkens C, Tahir W, Arifin MI, Gilch S, Schatzl HM. Gene-Edited Cell Models to Study Chronic Wasting Disease. Viruses 2022 Mar 15;14(3):609. doi: 10.3390/v14030609.
  2. Tahir W, Thapa S, Schatzl HM. Astrocytes in prion disease: a double-edged sword. Neural Regeneration Research 2022 Aug;17(8):1659-1665. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.332202.
  3. Ali T, Hannaoui S, Nemani S, Tahir W, Zemlyankina I, Cherry P, Shim SY, Sim V, Schaetzl HM, Gilch S. Oral administration of repurposed drug targeting Cyp46A1 increases survival times of prion infected mice. Acta Neuropathologica Communications 2021; DOI: 10.1186/s40478-021-01162-1 (IF: 6.27)
  4. Stepanchuk A*, Tahir W*, Nilsson KPR, Schatzl HM, Stys PK. Early detection of prion protein aggregation with a fluorescent pentameric oligothiophene probe using spectral confocal microscopy. Journal of Neurochemistry 2020; DOI: 10.1111/jnc.15148.
  5. Tahir W*, Abdulrahman B*, Abdelaziz DH, Thapa S, Walia R, Schätzl HM. An astrocyte cell line that differentially propagates murine prions. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2020; jbc.RA120.012596.
  6. Arora AS, Zafar S, Latif U, Llorens F, Sabine M, Kumar P, Tahir W, Thüne K, Shafiq M, Schmitz M, Zerr I. The role of cellular prion protein in lipid metabolism in the liver. Prion 2020; 14:95–108.
  7. Abdulrahman BA, Tahir W, Doh-Ura K, Gilch S, Schatzl HM. Combining autophagy stimulators and cellulose ethers for therapy against prion disease. Prion 2019; 13:185–96.
  8. Tahir W, Zafar S, Llorens F, Arora AS, Thüne K, Schmitz M, Gotzmann N, Kruse N, Mollenhauer B, Torres JM, Andréoletti O, Ferrer I, Zerr I. Molecular alterations in the cerebellum of sporadic creutzfeldt–jakob disease subtypes with DJ-1 as a key regulator of oxidative stress. Molecular Neurobiology 2018; 55:517–37. 
  9. Zafar S, Younas N, Sheikh N, Tahir W, Shafiq M, Schmitz M, Ferrer I, Andréoletti O, Zerr I. Cytoskeleton-Associated Risk Modifiers Involved in Early and Rapid Progression of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Molecular Neurobiology 2018; 55:4009–29.
  10. Llorens F, Thüne K, Tahir W, Kanata E, Diaz-Lucena D, Xanthopoulos K, Kovatsi E, Pleschka C, Garcia-Esparcia P, Schmitz M, Ozbay D, Correia S, Correia Â, Milosevic I, Andréoletti O, Fernández-Borges N, Vorberg IM, Glatzel M, Sklaviadis T, Torres JM, Krasemann S, Sánchez-Valle R, Ferrer I, Zerr I. YKL-40 in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of neurodegenerative dementias. Molecular Neurodegeneration 2017; 12.
  11. Llorens F, Thüne K, Andrés-Benito P, Tahir W, Ansoleaga B, Hernández-Ortega K, Martí E, Zerr I, Ferrer I. MicroRNA Expression in the Locus Coeruleus, Entorhinal Cortex, and Hippocampus at Early and Middle Stages of Braak Neurofibrillary Tangle Pathology. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 2017; 63:206–15.
  12. Llorens F, Thüne K, Sikorska B, Schmitz M, Tahir W, Fernández-Borges N, Cramm M, Gotzmann N, Carmona M, Streichenberger N, Michel U, Zafar S, Schuetz AL, Rajput A, Andréoletti O, Bonn S, Fischer A, Liberski PP, Torres JM, Ferrer I, Zerr I. Altered Ca2+ homeostasis induces Calpain- Cathepsin axis activation in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Acta Neuropathologica Communications 2017; 5.
  13. Zafar S, Younas N, Correia S, Shafiq M, Tahir W, Schmitz M, Ferrer I, Andréoletti O, Zerr I. Strain-Specific Altered Regulatory Response of Rab7a and Tau in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. Molecular Neurobiology 2017; 54:697–709. 
  14. Llorens F, Thüne K, Schmitz M, Ansoleaga B, Frau-Méndez MA, Cramm M, Tahir W, Gotzmann N, Berjaoui S, Carmona M, Silva CJ, Fernandez-Vega I, José Zarranz J, Zerr I, Ferrer I. Identification of New Molecular Alterations in Fatal Familial Insomnia - PubMed. Human Molecular Genetics 2016; :2417–36.
  15. Arora AS, Zafar S, Kollmar O, Llorens F, Tahir W, Vanselow S, Kumar P, Schmerr MJ, Schmitz M, Zerr I. Application of capillary immunoelectrophoresis revealed an age- and gender-dependent regulated expression of PrPC in liver. Electrophoresis 2015; 36:3026–33. 
  16. Zafar S, Schmitz M, Younus N, Tahir W, Shafiq M, Llorens F, Ferrer I, Andéoletti O, Zerr I. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Subtype-Specific Regional and Temporal Regulation of ADP Ribosylation Factor-1-Dependent Rho/MLC Pathway at Pre-Clinical Stage. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 2015; 56:329–48.
  17. Zafar S, Asif AR, Ramljak S, Tahir W, Schmitz M, Zerr I. Anchorless 23-230 PrPC interactomics for elucidation of PrPC protective role. Molecular Neurobiology 2014; 49:1385–99.

Research facility

Twp. Rd. 9-1 P.O. Box 640
Coalhurst, AB T0L 0V0




Other languages

Urdu, Punjabi