Drug Design and Action Group


Contact us

Dr. Mohammad Ghattas
College of Pharmacy, Building P
Al Ain University
P.O.Box: 64141 Al Ain, UAE
Email:  mohammad.ghattas@aau.ac.ae
Phone: +971 3 7024878
Fax:     +971 3 7024777


Research areas

  • Studying enzymes in silico
    Assessing enzymes binding site druggability and analyzing their protein-ligand interactions
  • Computer-aided drug design
    Multidisciplinary drug discovery and optimisation
  • Modelling small molecules
    Predicting dynamics and interactions
  • in vitro evaluation of leads
    Screening chemical and phytochemical compounds for their biological/antibacterial activity


Research interest

Our current research is focused on:

  • investigating different types of enzyme families in terms of active site druggability and ligand-protein interactions (which should assist medicinal chemist/biochemist in their efforts of finding new inhibitors).
  • Using computer-based drug design to inhibit protein-protein interactions and to target different types of enzymes that interfere with the pathogenesis of cancer (i.e. MPS1, MCF-7), diabetes mellitus (i.e. PTP1B) and bacterial infections (i.e. ENRs).
  • conducting molecular dynamics simulations to study the molecular details of the aggregation phenomena of different promiscuous inhibitor; which should help researchers in the future in reducing false positive hits usually accompanied with high throughput screening.
  • running in vitro tests for compounds suggested by computer-based drug design as well as for various plant extracts.


Research facilities

  • Molecular modelling lab includes:
    • Two advanced workstations
    • Specialised drug design software (e.g. MOE, Maestro, AMBER and ChemAxon)
  • Microbiology lab with state of the art equipment



  1. AlNeyadi SS, Salem AA, Ghattas MA, Atatreh N, Abdou IM. Antibacterial activity and mechanism of action of the benzazole acrylonitrile-based compounds: In vitro, spectroscopic, and docking studies. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2017, 136, 270–282. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.05.010
  2. Malki A, Elbayaa RY, Ali O, Sultan A, Youssef AM. Novel quinuclidinone derivatives induced apoptosis in human breast cancer via targeting p53. Bioorganic Chemistry 2017, 72: 57-63. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bioorg.2017.03.010
  3. Ghattas MA, Eissa NA, Bardaweel SK, Abu Mellal A, Atatreh N. Computer-aided discovery of antimicrobial agents as potential enoyl acyl carrier protein reductase inhibitors, Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 2017, 16 (2), 397-405. http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/tjpr.v16i2.19
  4. Hertecant J, Komara M, Nagi A, Al-Zaabi O, Fathallah W, Cui H, Yang Y, Eng CM, Al Sorkhy M, Ghattas MA, Al-Gazali L, Ali BR. A de novo mutation in the X-linked PAK3 gene is the underlying cause of intellectual disability and macrocephaly in monozygotic twins. European Journal of Medical Genetics 2017, 60 (4), 212-216. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2017.01.004
  5. Basim A, Muhi-Eldeen ZA, Al-Kaissi E, Sauifan G, Ghattas MA, Arafat T, Al-Adham I. Design, synthesis and biological screening of aminoacetylenictetrahydrophthalimideanalogues as novel COX inhibitors. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2017, 9(2):160. DOI: 10.22159/ijpps.2017v9i2.15511
  6. Ghattas MA, Raslan N, Sadeq A, Al Sorkhy M, Atatreh N. Druggability analysis and classification of protein tyrosine phosphatase active sites. Drug Design, Development and Therapy 2016, 10:3197-3209. DOI 10.2147/DDDT.S111443
  7. Abduelkarem AR, Hamrouni AM. The choice of pharmacy profession as a career: UAE experience. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, 2016; 9(4); 1-7.
  8. Ghattas MA, Al Sorkhy M, Atatreh, N. In silico design of new MPS1 inhibitors via a validated structure-based virtual screening approach. Der Pharma Chemica, 8(2): 365-374, 2016.
  9. Al Sorkhy M., Jalili E, Fillfield, B and LA Porter. Direct Interactions with both p27 and Cdk2 Regulate Spy1-Mediated Proliferation in vivo and in vitro. Cell cycle. 2016;15(1):128-36. doi: 10.1080/15384101.2015.1121327.
  10. Ghattas MA, Mansour RA, Atatreh N, Bryce RA. Analysis of enoyl acyl carrier protein reductase structure and interactions yield an efficient virtual screening approach and suggest a potential allosteric site. Chemical Biology and Drug Design. 87(1): 131–142, 2016. DOI: 10.1111/cbdd.12635
  11. Al-jomaily M, Arafat T, Al-kaissi EN, Ghattas MA, Muhi-eldeen ZA. Synthesis of 2-{[4-(t-amino-1-yl)but-2-ny-1-yl]oxy}-benzophenone derivatives as H3-antagonists. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 7(6):174-179, 2015.
  12. Qinna NA, Shubbar MH, Matalka KZ, Al‐Jbour N, Ghattas MA, Badwan AA. Glucosamine Enhances Paracetamol Bioavailability by Reducing Its Metabolism. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 104:257–265, 2015. DOI: 10.1002/jps.24269
  13. Shkshak K, Afan A, Auzi A, Hamrouni AM. The Hypoglycemic Effect of Libyan truffle in Experimental Induced rates. Tripolitana Medical Journal. 2014; 3 (1) 1-4.
  14. Al-Rahmani R, Al-kaissi E, Arafat T, Ghattas M, Muhi-eldeen Z. Synthesis of 2-[{4-(t-amino-1-yl)but-2-yn-1-yl }oxy]-1,3-benzothiazole derivatives as H3-antagonists. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy. 2014; 4(9):40-49. DOI: 10.9790/3013-0409040049
  15. Ghattas MA, Atatreh N, Bichenkova EV, Bryce RA. Protein tyrosine phosphatases: Ligand interaction analysis and optimisation of virtual screening. Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling. 2014; 52. 114-123. DOI:10.1016/j.jmgm.2014.06.011
  16. Sadek B, Hamrouni AM, Adam A. Anti-inflammatory agents of the carbamoylmethyl ester class: synthesis, characterization, and pharmacological evaluation. Journal of Inflammation Research 2013:6 1-9.
  17. Hamrouni AM, Musa F, Alatery A, Aburawi S, Alzatreny A, Auzi A. Phytochemical, Antioxidant, Antibacterial and Anti-Inflammatory Investigation of the Methanolic Extract of Amaranthus Tricolor Seed. Tripolitana Medical Journal. 2012; 1 (2), 94-99. DOI: 10.2147/JIR.S39743
  18. Malki A, Elbayaa RY, Ashour HMA, Loffredo CA, Youssef AM. Novel thiosemicarbazides induced apoptosis in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells via JNK signaling. Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry. Posted online on November 3 2014. DOI:10.3109/14756366.2014.971781
  19. Sadek B, Khanian S, Ashoor A, Prytkova T, Ghattas MA, Atatreh N, Nurulain SM, Yang KS, Howarth FC, Oz M. Effects of antihistamines on the function of Human α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2015; 746: 308–316. DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar.2014.10.046



  1. Ghattas MA, Eissa NA, Obaid D, Atatreh N. Discovery of Novel Antimicrobial Agents via Structure-Based Drug Design. Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry 12th – 15th Feb 2017, Bern, Switzerland
  2. Atatreh N, Al-Rawashdeh S, Abu Hamdah S, Ghattas MA. Drug Design Approach for Discovering New Butyrylcholinesterase Inhibitors. Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry 12th – 15th Feb 2017, Bern, Switzerland.
  3. Ghattas MA, Mansour RA, Atatreh N. A Novel Approach to Improve Enoyl Acyl Carrier Protein Reductases Virtual Screens. Drug Design 2014 Conference, 23rd – 26th September 2014, Oxford, United Kingdome.
  4. Youssef AM, Malki A. Synthesis and Anticancer Activity of Novel Quinuclidinone Derivatives Against Breast Cancer Cells. DUPHAT Conference, 10th – 12th March 2013, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.