See all Profiles
Arif Ashraf

Arif Ashraf

Assistant Professor

  • Biology
  • College of Arts & Sciences


We are a brand new lab at the Biology department of Howard University. We ask fundamental biology questions and use plants (Arabidopsis and Maize) as our model system to answer these questions. The simple things we observe in our day to day life, such as plants are growing, plants are bending towards light, plants are sensing gravitational force, plants are sensing water -- these instructions are coordinated at a cellular level. For instance, a plant organ grows because of either cell division or cell elongation or both. A plant can bend towards or away from universal stimuli (light, gravity, water) because certain cell types act differently. 

As we understand the biology of plant growth and development better at cellular level, it enhances our knowledge about how plants respond to environmental challenges and in a bigger picture, how a cell responds to variable growth conditions across the species.  

We do not have to be a scientist or work in a research lab to observe a plant growth and response at organismal level. To observe cellular activities, we need to rely on molecular and cell biology tools. In the following section, a quick overview of one of the fundamental cellular events, cell division, is demonstrated using different plant cell types. 

Education & Expertise


Postdoctoral Research Associate

Plant Cell Biology
University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA


Plant Biology
United Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Iwate University, Japan

Visiting Researcher

Plant Biology
University of Tokyo, Japan

Summer Research Intern

Plant Biology
University of Saskatchewan, Canada


Cell Biology, Plant Biology



Cell Biology (BIOL 310)

Related Articles

Publications (Last 5 years – most relevant articles)

  1. M. Arif Ashraf, Le Liu, Michelle Facette. (2023) A polarized nuclear position specifies the correct division plane during maize stomatal development. Plant Physiology. 193(1):125-139. (Impact Factor: 8.0) 
  2. M. Arif Ashraf. (2023) A nuclear Pandora’s box: Functions of nuclear envelope proteins in cell division. AoB Plants. 15 (2): pla065. (Impact Factor: 3.1)
  3. Le Liu, M. Arif Ashraf, Taylor Morrow, Michelle Facette. (2023) Stomatal closure in maize is mediated by subsidiary cells and the PAN2 receptor. New Phytologist. 10.1111/nph.19379. (Impact Factor: 9.4)
  4. Beenish Fakher, M. Arif Ashraf, Lulu Wang, Xiaomei Wang, Ping Zheng, Mohammad Aslam, Yuan Qin. (2023) Pineapple SWEET10 is a glucose transporter. Horticulture Research. 10 (10): uhad175. (Impact Factor: 8.7)
  5. M. Arif Ashraf, Abidur Rahman. (2022) Cellular Protein Trafficking: A New Player in Low-Temperature Response Pathway. Plants.  11(7):933. (Impact Factor: 4.5)  
  6. M. Arif Ashraf, Takashi Akihiro, Keita Ito, Sayaka Kumagai, Ryohei Sugita, Keitaro Tanoi, and Abidur Rahman. (2021) ATP binding cassette proteins ABCG37 and ABCG33 function as potassium-independent cesium uptake carriers in Arabidopsis roots. Molecular Plant. 14(4): 664–678. (Impact Factor: 27.5) 
  7. M. Arif Ashraf, Michelle Facette. (2020) BASL gives the plant nucleus a sense of direction. Current Biology. 30 (22): R1375-R1377. (Impact Factor: 9.2) 
  8. M. Arif Ashraf, Kana Umetsu, Olena Ponomarenko, Michiko Saito, Mohammad Aslam, Olga Antipova, Natalia Dolgova, Cheyenne D. Kiani, Susan Nezhati, Keitaro Tanoi, Katsuyuki Minegishi, Kotaro Nagatsu, Takehiro Kamiya, Toru Fujiwara, Christian Luschnig, Karen Tanino, Ingrid Pickering, George Graham, and Abidur Rahman. (2020) PIN FORMED 2 modulates the transport of Arsenite in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Communications. 1(3): 100009. (Impact Factor: 10.5) 
  9. M. Arif Ashraf, Abidur Rahman. (2019) Cold stress response in Arabidopsis thaliana is mediated by GNOM ARF-GEF. The Plant Journal. (97): 500–516. (Impact Factor: 7.2) 
  10. M. Arif Ashraf, Abidur Rahman. (2018) Hormonal regulation of cold stress response in Cold Tolerance in Plants. Springer Nature. pp. 65-88.