Masoud is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from McGill University (1997) and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry in Concordia University, Canada, focusing on structural and functional studies of enzymes (1997-1999). Masoud then joined Affinium Pharmaceuticals where he worked as Associate Director of Protein Science. There, he and his team were involved in purifying, characterizing and crystallizing hundreds of proteins as well as developing novel methods of protein purification and characterization (1999-2003). He later joined the Structural Genomics Consortium in 2003 as head of the Molecular Biophysics group.
Molecular biophysics group of SGC Toronto is involved in various epigenetic related projects including characterization of histone methyltransferases (HMT). HMT family of proteins consist of enzymes that methylate lysine or arginine residues on histone tails as well as other proteins. Such modifications affect chromatin structure and play a significant regulatory role in gene expression. Many HMTs have been implicated in tumorigenesis and progression of multiple malignancies, and play essential roles in embryonic development and stem cell renewal. Overexpression of some HMTs has been observed and correlated positively with various types of cancers. I am interested in characterizing HMTs and discovering potent, selective and nontoxic inhibitors (chemical probes) of these proteins. The critical roles of HMTs in a variety of diseases suggest that many of these enzymes may be targets for a new generation of therapeutics. However, little is known about substrate specificity and kinetic behavior for many of the annotated HMTs. Thus, the field would benefit from such characterizations and availability of chemical probes.