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Muhammad N. Yousaf

Muhammad N. Yousaf

Picture of Muhammad N. Yousaf
Muhammad N. Yousaf
Assistant Professor, Research Stream



Eligible to Supervise

Biology Graduate Program


Office Location Life Sciences Building, 431C
Phone Number (416)736-2100 x 77712 (Voicemail)

Research Focus

The Yousaf Group’s research program is interdisciplinary in nature and currently focuses on 4 separate research programs based in chemistry that interface organic, bioanalytical, chemical biology and biomaterials research.

Students and postdoctoral research associates working in the group are exposed to many diverse research areas that encompass analytical chemistry, synthetic chemistry, material science, live–cell high-resolution microscopy, biochemistry and cell biology tools among many other techniques. Although we are broadly interested in several research areas, the main long-term research goal is to interface chemistry and material science with cell biology to study a range of complex processes related to cell behavior, to develop bioanalytical tools for various biotechnologies and to develop and employ biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications.

Surface Chemistry/Microfluidics/Microarrays/Nanoarrays. Interfacing surface chemistry, advanced microscopy techniques and microfluidics with cell biology to study a range of cell behaviors and to develop new biotechnology assay platforms.

This research program aims to bridge material science and cell biology with synthetic organic chemistry to develop new surface chemistry and biophysical tools to study the internal and external cues that are critical for cell polarization and cell migration. We also develop new types of biomolecular microarrays and nanoarrays compatible with MALDI mass spectrometry for a range of small molecule and proteomic studies.

Organic Chemistry/Bio-Organic. A Solution Based Switchable Chemoselective Redox Responsive (CRRL) Ligation and Release Strategy for Bioconjugation (a reversible bio–orthogonal ‘click’ chemistry).

This research program aims to use synthetic organic chemistry to develop a general dynamic ‘click’ conjugation and release strategy for new applications in chemical biology and material science.

Chemical Biology/Tissue Engineering. Developing Liposome Fusion strategies for cell surface tailoring in order to spatially and temporally control cell-cell interactions for stem cell differentiation and as a chemoselective Tissue engineering based therapy.

This research program aims to integrate synthetic organic chemistry with cell biology to tailor cell surfaces with bio–orthogonal functional groups for subsequent control of cell assembly and disassembly for stem cell differentiation and tissue engineering applications.

Biodegradable Polymers/Hydrogels. Developing novel polyketoesters that can be molded into films and particles as biodegradable, non-cytotoxic materials for tissue engineering scaffolds and as nanoparticle delivery reagents. Programmable hydrogels with control of 3D ligand presentation for studies of cell behavior and regenerative medicine applications.

This research program aims to develop new polyketoester polymers and chemoselective hydrogels for a range of biomaterial and tissue engineering applications.

Representative publications:

Remote Control of Tissue Interactions via Engineered Photo-switchable Cell Surfaces. W. Luo, A. Pulsipher, D. Dutta, B. M. Lamb, M. N. Yousaf*. Nature Scientific Reports 2014 in press.

Controlling cell behavior with peptide nano-patterns. N. P. Westcott, W. Luo, M. N. Yousaf*. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 430, 2014, Pages 207-213.

Dynamic 3D cell culture via a chemoselective photoactuated ligand. N. P. Westcott, W. Luo, J. Goldstein, M. N. Yousaf*. 
Biointerphases 9, 031005 (2014);

PI3 kinase enzymology on fluid lipid bilayers. D. Dutta, A. Pulsipher, W. Luo, M. N. Yousaf*. Analyst, 2014, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/C4AN00998C.


Biological Chemistry