Ezzat El-Sherif, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Assistant Professor
Office: ESCNE 1.328
Phone: (956) 665-7001
Email: ezzat.elsherif@utrgv.edu  
Website: https://www.elsherif-lab.com/ 

Currently Teaching

  • BIOL 4398 - ST: Genes & Developmental
  • BIOL 7300 - Thesis I
  • BIOL 7100 - Thesis Proposal


  • 2013 PhD in Genetics, Kansas State University, USA
  • 2008 MSc in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Cairo University, Egypt
  • 2004 BSc in Electronics and Communications Engineering, Cairo University, Egypt

Areas of Expertise

  • Gene Regulation
  • Developmental Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Computational Biology
  • Systems Biology


El-Sherif lab is interested in understanding how genes are regulated to allow embryonic development. Specifically, we study key genetic elements in mediating gene regulation: Enhancers. An Enhancer is piece of DNA that tells when and where in the embryo a gene turns on or off. Through enhancers, genes are wired into gene regulatory networks that orchestrate embryonic development. Understanding how Enhancers work is an important and challenging problem, and our lab is set to contribute in solving it.

Recent Publications

(Note: top 5 publications are marked with †; My name shown in bold, names of students under my supervision underlined)

Mau C, Rudolf H, Strobl F, Schmid B, Regensburger T, Palmisano R, Stelzer E, Taher L*, El-Sherif E*, “How enhancers regulate wavelike gene expression patterns: Novel enhancer prediction and live reporter systems identify an enhancer associated with the arrest of pair-rule waves in the short-germ beetle Tribolium” bioRxiv 2022. Under Review in eLife. *Corresponding Authors.

Diaz-Cuadros M.*, Pourquié*, El-Sherif E.*, “Patterning with clocks and genetic cascades: segmentation and regionalization of vertebrate vs. insect body plans”, an invited literature review, 2021 PLOS Genetics. *Corresponding Authors.

Jutras-Dubé L., El-Sherif E.*, François P.* “Geometric models for robust encoding of dynamical information into embryonic patterns”, eLife 2020. *Corresponding Authors.

Müller P.*, El-Sherif E.*. “A systems-level view of pattern formation mechanisms in development”, Developmental Biology 2020 (Editorial). *Corresponding Authors.

Rudolf H., Zellner C., El-Sherif E.*. “Speeding up anterior-posterior patterning of insects by differential initialization of the gap gene cascade,” Developmental Biology 2020. *Corresponding Author.

Boos A., Distler J, Rudolf H., Klingler M.*, El-Sherif E.*. “A re-inducible genetic cascade patterns the anterior-posterior axis of insects in a threshold-free fashion.” eLife 7, e41208, 2018. *Corresponding Authors. †

Kuhlmann L, El-Sherif E.*. “Speed Regulation and Gradual Enhancer Switching Models as Flexible and Evolvable Patterning Mechanisms.” bioRxiv, 261891, 2018. *Corresponding Author.

Lai YT, Deem KD, Borras-Castells F, Sambrani N, Rudolf H, Suryamohan K, El-Sherif E., Halfon MS, McKay DJ, Tomoyasu Y. “Enhancer identification and activity evaluation in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum.” Development 2018.

Zhu X, Rudolf H, Healey L., Francois P, Brown SJ, Klingler M, El-Sherif E.*, “Speed regulation of genetic cascades allows for evolvability in the body plan specification of insects.” PNAS 2017. *Corresponding Author. †

El-Sherif E., Levine M, “Shadow enhancers mediate dynamic shifts of gap gene expression in the Drosophila embryo,” Current Biology, vol. 26, no. 9, p1164–1169, 2016. †

El-Sherif E., Zhu X, Fu J, Brown SJ, “Caudal regulates the spatiotemporal dynamics of pair-rule waves in Tribolium,” PLoS Genet 10(10): e1004677, 2014. †

El-Sherif E., Averof M, Brown SJ, “A segmentation clock operating in blastoderm and germband stages of Tribolium development,” Development, vol. 139, no 23, pp 4341-6, 2012. †

Lynch J*, El-Sherif E.*, Brown SJ, “Comparisons of the embryonic development of Drosophila, Nasonia, and Tribolium,” WIRES Developmental Biology, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 16-39, 2012. *Equal contribution.

El-Sherif E., Abdelazeem S, “A Model-Based Approach for Building Optimum Classification Cascades,” INTECH, 2010.

El-Sherif E., Abdelazeem S, Abu El-Yazeed MF, “Automatic Generation of Optimum Classification Cascades,” 19th International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR 2008), pp. 1-4, December 2008.

Sherif Abdelazeem, El-Sherif E., “Arabic Handwritten Digit Recognition”, International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition, vol. 11, no. 3, December, 2008.

El-Sherif E., Abdelazeem S, “A Two-Stage System for Arabic Handwritten Digit Recognition Tested on a New Large Database”, International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Pattern Recognition (AIPR-07), Orlando, FL, USA, July 2007.