Dr. Ahmed Lawan

Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences


301 Sparkman Drive
Shelby Center
Room 369H
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map



The goal of our laboratory is to elucidate the involvement of complex signaling pathways in the control of lipid metabolism. This has important implications in human health including the development of obesity, fatty liver disease, diabetes, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. The molecular and physiological basis for the actions of MAPK phosphatases (MKPs) in cell and whole-body metabolism is the broad focus of our research program. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) have emerged as major sensors of environmental status, where environmental indications motivate intracellular signaling pathways responsible for regulation of fundamental cellular physiological functions like cell survival and death, metabolism, proliferation and cell cycle. MAPKs are inactivated by direct dephosphorylation of their regulatory threonine and tyrosine residues by MKPs. Our studies use a combination of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, genetics and mouse models to study metabolism and metabolic disorders. Our research program aims include: Regulation of lipid metabolism by MKPs in physiology and disease; Gut-liver axis connection in the development of fatty liver disease; Identify and characterize novel MKP/MAPK substrates in lipid metabolism; Identify targets and design therapies for treating metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D. University of Strathclyde, U.K. (Cell Biology & Cardiovascular Disease) 2011
  • M.Sc. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (Cardiovascular Physiology) 2004
  • B.Sc. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (Neuroscience) 1995


  • Signal transduction
  • Obesity
  • Hepatic physiology and disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular biology
  • Regulation of lipid metabolism by MKPs in physiology and disease.
  • Gut-liver axis connection in the development of fatty liver disease.
  • Identify and characterize novel MKP/MAPK substrates in lipid metabolism.
  • Identify targets and design therapies for treating metabolic and cardiovascular diseases

Recent Publications

  • Anton M. Bennett and Ahmed Lawan. 2020 Improving Obesity and Insulin Resistance by Targeting Skeletal Muscle MKP-1. J Cell Signal 1(4): 160-168. PubMed PMID: 33179019

  • Ahmed Lawan, Kisuk Min, Lei Zhang, Alberto Canfran-Duque, Michael J. Jurczak, Joao Paulo G. Camporez Yaohui Nie, Timothy P. Gavin, Gerald I. Shulman, Carlos Fernandez-Hernando, Anton M. Bennett. 2018. Skeletal muscle-specific deletion of MKP-1 reveals a p38 MAPK/JNK/Akt signaling node that regulates obesity induced insulin resistance. Diabetes 67:624-635.PubMed PMID: 29317435

  • Ahmed Lawan, Anton M. Bennett. 2017. Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Regulation in Hepatic Metabolism. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 28 (12): 868-878PubMed PMID: 29128158

  • Kisuk Min, Ahmed Lawan, Anton M. Bennett.2017.Loss of MKP-5 promotes myofiber survival by activating STAT3/Bcl-2 signaling during regenerative myogenesis. Skelet Muscle. 7 (1): 21.PubMed PMID: 29047406

  • Lawan A., Zhang L., Gatzke F, Min, Kisuk, Jurczak M.J., Al-Mutairi M, Richter P, Camporez J.P.G, Couvillon A, Pesta D, Flach R.J.R, Shulman, G.I., and Bennett A.M. 2015. Hepatic MAP kinase phosphatase-1 Selectively Regulates Glucose Metabolism and Energy Homeostasis. Mol Cell Biol. 35 (1): 26-40.PubMed PMID: 25312648

  • Lee H, Yi JS, Lawan A, Min K and Bennett AM. 2015. Mining the function of protein tyrosine phosphatases in health and disease. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 37: 66-72PubMed PMID: 25263013

  • Ahmed Lawan. 2015. Role of MAP Kinase Phosphatase-1 in health and disease. J. Afr. Ass. Physiol. Sci 3 (2): 61-66

  • Martin, T.P., Lawan, A., Robinson, E., Grieve, D.J., Plevin, R., Paul, A., and Currie, S. 2014. Adult cardiac fibroblast proliferation is modulated by calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in normal and hypertrophied hearts. Pflugers Archive-European Journal of Physiology. 466 (2): 319-330.PubMed PMID: 23881186

  • Lawan, A., Shi, H., Gatzke, F., and Bennett, A. M.2013. Diversity and specificity of the mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 functions, Cell Mol Life Sci. 70 (2): 223-237.

  • Lawan, A., Torrance, E., Al-Harthi, S., Shweash, M., Alnasser, S., Neamatallah, T., Schroeder, J., and Plevin, R. 2012. MKP-2: out of the DUSP-bin and back into the limelight, Biochem Soc Trans 40, 235-239. PubMed PMID: 22260697