Sara Ibrahim Omar




        Doctor of Philosophy in Oncology (Current)
        University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada

        Master of Science in Chemistry
        University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada

        Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Biotechnology
        German University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt





My work is focused on two main protein targets for anti-cancer therapy:

1. The Guardian of the Genome, p53:
One of the most important tumor suppressor proteins in cells is the transcription factor called p53. The importance of this protein in cells comes from the fact that it regulates a wide variety of cellular processes including the cell cycle, metabolism, DNA repair, senescence and apoptosis. p53 is also the most mutated protein in cancer cells. My work is focused on modelling high frequency p53 mutants and understanding the effect of mutation on their structure. We are also using covalent docking to virtually screen for mutant p53 activators that can restore the wild type activity to the mutants.


2. The DNA repair enzyme, Polynucleotide phosphatase kinase (PNKP):
Our second target is the DNA repair enzyme called PNKP. The idea is to use PNKP inhibitors in combination cancer therapy to reduce cancer cell resistance. We are using a combination of virtual screening techniques to find potential inhibitors of the phosphatase activity of the protein, including docking and pharmacophore modelling. This project is in collaboration with the Alberta DNA repair Consortium.


Academic Networks:



  1. Omar SI, Tuszynski J. The molecular mechanism of action of methylene quinuclidinone and its effects on the structure of p53 mutants. Oncotarget. 2018 Dec 3;9(98):37137-56.

  2. Omar SI, Lepre MG, Morbiducci U, Deriu MA, Tuszynski JA. Virtual screening using covalent docking to find activators for G245S mutant p53. PLoS ONE 2018; 13(9). 

  3. Preto J, Gentile F, Winter P, Churchill C, Omar SI, Tuszynski J. Molecular Dynamics and Related Computational Methods with Applications to Drug Discovery. Coupled Mathematical Models for Physical and Biological Nanoscale Systems and their Applications. 1st Edition 2018; Springer International Publishing.

  4. Lepre M, Omar SI, Grasso G, Morbiducci U, Deriu M, Tuszynski J. Insights into the Effect of the G245S Single Point Mutation on the Structure of p53 and the Binding of the Protein to DNA. Molecules 2017; 22: 1358.

  5. Nayebi N, Cetinel S, Omar SI, Tuszynski JA, Montemagno C. A computational method for selecting short peptide sequences for inorganic material binding. Proteins Struct Funct Bioinforma 2017; 85(11): 2024-2035.

  6. Omar SI, Albensi B, Gough K. Protein Structural Analysis of Calbindin D 28k Function and Dysregulation: Potential Competition Between Ca 2+ and Zn 2+. Curr Alzheimer Res 2016; 13: 777–86.

  7. Omar SI, Tuszynski J. Ranking the Binding Energies of p53 Mutant Activators and Their ADMET Properties. Chem Biol Drug Des 2015; 86: 163–72.

  8. Hinow P, Rietman EA, Omar SI, Tuszynski J. Algebraic and Topological Indices of Molecular Pathway Networks in Human Cancers. Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering 2015; 12(6): 1289-1302.

  9. Tuszynski JA, Winter P, White D, et al. Mathematical and computational modeling in biology at multiple scales. Theor Biol Med Model 2014; 11: 52.