Majd Zayzafoon, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology. He serves as the Director of the UAB-Center for Metabolic Bone Disease (UAB-CMBD), is Co-Director of the NIH P30 UAB Core Center for Basic and Translational Skeletal Research, and is PI of the NIH T32 Comprehensive Training Program in Bone Biology and Disease. Majd Zayzafoon was born in Birmingham and grew up in Norwich, England. He went to medical school at Damascus University, Syria where he obtained his MD degree. After graduation, he completed his residency in Internal Medicine followed by a fellowship in Gastroenterology at Preston Hospital, Tyne & Wear, England. Majd then moved to the United States and joined the Physiology Doctoral Program at Michigan State University, where he earned his Ph.D. degree. In 2002 he moved to UAB as a post-doctoral fellow in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Department of Pathology. Since that time Majd has moved rapidly through the ranks, being promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. He is also currently enrolled in the MBA Graduate Program at the UAB School of Business where he is expected to obtain his MBA in 2012.
Majd has also received the prestigious Harold Frost and John Haddad Young Investigator awards from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), and he was recently elected as executive board member of the AIMM/ASBMR. Majd’s clinical background coupled with his in-depth basic and translational research experience provide the expertise necessary to facilitate the translational efforts of the research base of both the NIH P30 UAB Core Center for Basic and Translational Skeletal Research and the Center for Metabolic Bone Disease which he directs. The goal of the CMBD is to provide a broad-based multidisciplinary research, training and service focused on metabolic bone disease; with the mission to help catalyze and integrate educational, clinical and basic research activities. The membership of the CMBD currently includes 93 faculty from 9 schools and 29 departments at UAB.
In 2009 Majd was elected by the JHS faculty to UAB Faculty Senate, and in 2010 he received a Commendation Award for Outstanding Service to the Senate. He was Chair of the Faculty Senate Curriculum & Research Committee from 2010-2011 and is now Chair of the newly created Faculty Senate Research Committee for 2011-2012. Majd is also Founder and President of Novicure Biotechnology, which is a biotech company focused on drug discovery for prostate cancer bone metastasis.
The long-term goal of Dr. Zayzafoon’s laboratory is to develop novel therapeutic approaches for building and retaining bone mass in humans. His research activities include understanding the transcriptional regulation of osteoblast differentiation and the role of calcium signaling in this process. He is particularly interested in the effects of high fat diet and obesity on osteoblast proliferation and differentiation, and the roles of calmodulin dependent protein kinase II and the nuclear factor of activated T-cells in this process. He also studies the mechanisms involved in the development and growth of bone tumors such as osteosarcoma or bone metastasis from other tumors such as prostate cancer. Specifically, his research examines how progressive changes in prostate cancer bone metastasis are acquired through tumor-stroma interaction in the bone and prostate microenvironment. The outcome of his work will not only increase our understanding of the regulation of osteoblast differentiation and bone formation, but also play a key role in the development of new targets for drug design and therapies for osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Dr. Zayzafoon is also involved in many activities of the UAB Bone Center with my interest and commitment in bone research. With his clinical and basic science experiences, he functions in the capacity of Director of the UAB Comprehensive Center for Metabolic Bone Disease (CMBD) to oversee the activities of the University-wide center, and Associate Director for Translational Research and Enrichment Program to oversee the translational research aspects and the enrichment programs of the CCBTSR. In addition, he also assists the Histomorphometry and Molecular Analyses Core as an Associate Director of the Core. His commitment and interests to the growth of bone research at UAB is deeply rooted within the interest and successful functioning of the CMBD.