Mahtab Jafari

picture of Mahtab  Jafari

Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
College of Health Sciences

Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
School of Biological Sciences

Director, The UCI Center for Healthspan Sciences
College of Health Sciences

Pharm.D., University of California, San Francisco, 1994
Residency, University of California, San Francisco, 1995, Clinical Pharmacy

Phone: (949) 824-0145
Fax: (949) 824-2949

University of California, Irvine
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
3232 McGaugh
Mail Code: 3958
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Healthspan Pharmacology: The Impact of Botanical Extracts and Dietary Supplements on Longevity and Health, Anti-Aging Pharmacology, and Preventive Medicine
Academic Distinctions
UCSF Campaign Dedicated Alumni Award
UCI Distinguished Professor Award for Teaching
The Greater Los Angeles Federal Executive Board Public Service Team Accomplishment Award for FDA/UCI Internship Program
The FDA Collaboration Award for the FDA/UCI Internship Program
UCI Distinguished Professor Award
UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences “Most Inspiring Professor” Award
UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences “Overall Outstanding Professor Award”
UCI Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine “Discovery Award”
UCI Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research
UCI Distinguished Assistant Professor Award for Teaching
“20 Women to Watch in Orange County”, OC Metro Business Magazine
Research Abstract
-I have experience in basic, translational and clinical research in both academic and pharmaceutical industry settings. Until 2005, the focus of my research was on designing and implementing clinical trials on cardiovascular, metabolic, and psychiatric drugs. I also developed an educational research program on evaluating the impact of teaching spirituality and belief systems to healthcare students on patients’ clinical outcomes. In 2005, I shifted the focus of my research to aging, lifespan and healthspan using human cultured cells and fruit flies as my main model systems. The main focus of my current research program is on slowing the aging process through a science that I introduced as “Healthspan Pharmacology” in 2015.
The Jafari Laboratory developed and validated an algorithm to screen, identify, and evaluate potential anti-aging compounds (natural products and botanical extracts) using Drosophila melanogaster as the main model system. Since 2005, we have identified five natural products that have extended the lifespan and improved the healthspan of flies (Rhodiola rosea, Rosa damascena, curcumin, cinnamon, and Angelica keiskei). Using various model systems such as cultured cells, Drosophila and mice, we have been evaluating the anti-aging mechanism of these products and we recently tested Rhodiola rosea in a leptin deficient mouse model. Our goal is to eventually evaluate our test compounds on biomarkers of health in humans. We also evaluate the impact of botanical extracts on the microbiome of flies and mice in an effort to understand the link between microbiome and health.
We recently started a new field of work in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to develop a platform for natural products and drug analytics. Using Drosophila as our main model system, we are currently in the process of evaluating the feasibility of combining multi-OMIC, AI and functional assays for expedited drug discovery and repurposing.
I am also involved in an educational research project based on the Life101 course that I developed in 2013. Life101 teaches students healthy lifestyle choices with the goal of helping students manage their stress. We have been collecting longitudinal data on the short term and long-term impacts of this course on our students’ well-being. In 2019, I received an Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) grant from the UC Office of President to enhance the online Life101 curse and transform it into a MOOC course that can be offered to all UC and college students.
- Selected Publications from CV (Since 2006)-

15) Jafari, M. and Rose, M.R. 2006. Rules for the Use of Model Organisms in Anti-Aging Pharmacology. Aging Cell. 5:17-22.

16) Jafari M, Long AD, Mueller LD and Rose MR.. 2006. Pharmacology of aging in Drosophila. Current Drug Targets. (7), 1479-1483.

17) Mathieu, C. and Jafari, M. 2006 Immunomodulation by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3: Therapeutic implications in autoimmunity and transplantation. Clinical Nephrology. 66(4): 275-283.

18) Mahtab Jafari, Behnood Khodayari, Jeffrey Felgner, Irvin I. Bussel, Michael R. Rose, and Laurence D. Mueller. 2007 Pioglitazone: An Anti-Diabetic Compound with Anti-Aging Properties. Biogerontology 8:639-651.

19) Mahtab Jafari, Jeffrey Felgner, Behnood Khodayari, Anthony Hutchili, Irvin I. Bussel, Concordia Vince-Cruz, Michael R. Rose, and Laurence D. Mueller. 2007 Rhodiola: A Promising Anti-Aging Chinese Herb. Rejuvenation Research. 10 (4): 1-16.

20) Sepulveda S., P. Shojaeian, C. L. Rauser, M. Jafari, L. D. Mueller, M. R. Rose. 2008. Interactions between Injury, Stress, and Aging in Drosophila melanogaster. Experimental Gerontology. 43(3):136-45.

21) Mahtab Jafari, Asghar Zarban, Steven Chang, and Thomas Wang. 2008 Rosa damascena decreases mortality in adult Drosophila. Journal of Medicinal Foods. 11 (1): 9-13.

22) Bussel, I.I, Joseph, M., Lewis, V., Jafari, M. 2008 Caffeine supplementation increases mortality in female Drosophila melanogaster without reproductive or metabolic impairment. Drosophila Information Services. Volume 91. December 2008.

23) Avanesian A, Khodayari B, Felgner J.S, Jafari M. 2009 Lamotrigine Extends Lifespan but Compromises Health Span in Drosophila melanogaster. Biogerontology. 11(1): 45-52.

24) Samuel E Schriner, Agnesa Avanesian, Yanxia Liu, Hendrik Luesch, and Mahtab Jafari. 2009 Protection of human cultured cells against oxidative stress by Rhodiola rosea without activation of antioxidant defenses. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 47: 577-584.

25) Samuel E. Schriner, Ani Abrahamyan, Agnesa Avanesian, Irvin Bussel, Maral Gazarian, Marissa A. Holmbeck, and Mahtab Jafari. 2009 Decreased mitochondrial superoxide levels and enhanced protection against paraquat in Drosophila melanogaster supplemented with Rhodiola rosea. Free Radical Research. 43(9): 836-843

26) Agnesa Avanesian, Sahar Semnani and Mahtab Jafari. 2009 Can Drosophila melanogaster Represent a Model System for the Detection of Reproductive Adverse Drug Reactions? Drug Discovery Today. 14 (15/16): 761-766.

27) Mahtab Jafari. 2010 Drosophila melanogaster as a Model System for Evaluating Anti-aging Compounds. FLY 4 (3): 1-5

28) Kyu-Sun Lee, Byung-Sup Lee, Sahar Semnani, Agnesa Avanesian, Se-Yoon Um, Hyun-Jin Jeon, Kwon Yu, Kyung-Jin Min*, and Mahtab Jafari* (*equal contribution made by these authors). 2010 Curcumin Extends Lifespan, Improves Heal Span, and Modulate Aging Related Genes in Drosophila Melanogaster. Rejuvenation Research 13 (5): 1-10.

29) Zhongbo Liu, Xuesen Li, Anne R. Simoneau, Mahtab Jafari, and Xiaolin Zi. 2011. Rhodiola rosea extracts and salidroside decrease the growth of bladder cancer cell lines via inhibition of the mTOR pathway and induction of autophagy. Molecular Carcinogenesis. April 22, 2011 (ePub)

30) Schriner SE, Katoozi NS, Pham KQ, Garzarian M, Zarban A, Jafari M. 2012. Extension of Drosophila lifespan by Rosa damascena associated with an increased sensitivity to heat. Biogerontology. 13(2):105-117.

31) Kislukhin, Galina; Murphy, Maura L.; Jafari, Mahtab; Long, Anthony D. 2012. Chemotherapy-induced toxicity is highly heritable in Drosophila melanogaster. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics. 22 (4): 285–289

32) Seyed Fazel Nabavi, Solomon Habtemariam, Mahtab Jafari, Antoni Sureda, and Seyed Mohammad Nabavi. 2012. Protective Role of Gallic Acid on Sodium Fluoride-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rat Brain. Bulleting of Enviromental Contamination and Toxicology. 89(1): 73-77.

33) Seyed Fazel Nabavi, Seyed Mohammad Nabavi, Solomon Habtemariam , Antoni Sureda, Mahtab Jafari, Fatemeh Abolhasani, and Akbar Hajizadeh Moghaddam. 2013. Hepatoprotective effect of gallic acid isolated from Peltiphyllum peltatum against sodium fluoride-induced oxidative stress. Industrial Crops and Products. 44:50-55.

34) Samuel E. Schriner, Kevin Lee, Stephanie Truong, Kathyrn T. Salvadora, Steven Maler, Alexander Nam, Thomas Lee, and Mahtab Jafari. 2013. Extension of Drosophila lifespan by Rhodiola rosea through a mechanism independent from dietary restriction. PLoS ONE 8(5): e63886

35) Lopez T, Schriner SE, Okoro M, Lu D, Chiang BT, Huey J, Jafari M. 2014. Green Tea Polyphenols Extend the Lifespan of Male Drosophila melanogaster While Impairing Reproductive Fitness J Med Food. 17(12):1314-1321.

36) Samuel E. Schriner, Steven Kuramada, Terry E. Lopez, Stephanie Truong, Andrew Pham, and Mahtab Jafari. 2014. Extension of Drosophila lifespan by cinnamon through a sex-specific dependence on the insulin receptor substrate chico. Experimental Gerontology. 60(C): 220-230.

37) Kil, Yun-Seo, Choi, Seul-Ki, Lee, Yun-Sil, Jafari, Mahtab, Seo, Eun-Kyoung. 2015. Chalcones from Angelica keiskei: Evaluation of Their Heat Shock Protein Inducing Activities. Journal of Natural Products. 78; 2481-2487.

38) Mahtab Jafari. Healthspan Pharmacology. 2015. Rejuvenation Research. 18(6): 573-80.

39) Terry E. Lopez, Hoang M. Pham, Julia Barbour, Phillip Tran, Sean P. Hogan, Benjamin Van Nguyen, Richelle L. Homo, Volkan Coskun, Samuel E. Schriner, and Mahtab Jafari. The impact of green tea polyphenols on development and reproduction of Drosophila melanogaster. 2016. Journal of Functional Foods. 20: 556–566

40) Samuel E. Schriner, Volkan Coskun, Sean P. Hogan, Terry E. Lopez, and Mahtab Jafari. Extension of Drosophila lifespan by Rhodiola rosea Depends on Dietary Carbohydrate and Caloric Content in a Simplified Diet. 2016. Journal of Medicinal Food. 19 (3): 318–323

41) Terry E Lopez; Hoang M Pham; Yerazik Tahmasian; Benjamin V Nguyen; Shannon Ramsden; Volkan Coskun; Samuel E Schriner, and Mahtab Jafari. Green Tea Polyphenols Require the Mitochondrial Iron Transporter, mitoferrin, for Lifespan Extension in Drosophila melanogaster. 2016. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 93(4): 210-221.

42) Yun-Seo Kil, Sally T. Pham, Eun Kyoung Seo, and Mahtab Jafari. 2017 Angelica keiskei, an emerging medicinal herb with various bioactive constituents and biological activities. Archives of Pharmaceutical Research. (40): 655-675.

43) Mahtab Jafari. 2017. A Unique Degree Program for Pre-Pharmacy Education: An Undergraduate Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2017. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning. In press. Published online October 27, 2017.

44) Mahtab Jafari. 2017. Life101 Enhances Healthy Lifestyle Choices in Undergraduate Students. 2017. Journal of University Teaching and Learning. 4(3) 4: 1-17.

45) Khachik E. Labachyan, Dara Kiani, Evgueni A. Sevrioukov, Samuel E. Schriner, and

Mahtab Jafari. The impact of Rhodiola rosea on the gut microbial community of Drosophila melanogaster. 2018 Gut Pathogens. 10(12): 1-10.

46) Jasmin G. J. Arabit, Rami Elhaj, Samuel E. Schriner, Yevgeni Sevrioukov, and Mahtab Jafari. Rhodiola rosea Improves Lifespan, Locomotion, and Neurodegeneration in a Drosophila melanogaster Model of Huntington’s Disease. 2018 BioMed Research International. Special issue “Drosophila Models of Human Disease". Volume 2018, Article ID 6726874

47) Hanh M. Pham, Anna Xu, Samuel E. Schriner, Evgueni A. Sevrioukov, and Mahtab Jafari. Cinnamaldehyde Improves Lifespan and Healthspan in Drosophila melanogaster models for Alzheimer’s Disease. 2018 BioMed Research International. Special issue “Drosophila Models of Human Disease". Volume 2018, Article ID 3570830

48) Barbara Sorkin, Adam Kuszak, Gregory Bloss, Naomi Fukagawa, Mahtab Jafari, Michael Walters, Bruce Barrett, Frederic Bushman, Steven Casper, Floyd Chilton, Christopher

Coffey, Mario Ferruzzi, Craig Hopp, Mairead Kiely, Daniel Lakens, John MacMillan, David Meltzer, Jeffrey Paul, Kathleen Pritchett-Corning, Sara Quinney, Sharon

Ross, Harold Seifried, Kenneth Setchell, Nisha Sipes, Jacqueline Stephens, Lans Taylor, Hervé Tiriac, Dan Xi, Freddie Ann Hoffman, and Guido Pauli. (Office of Dietary Supplement NIH Working Group). Improving Natural Product Research Translation: from Source to Clinical Trial . FASEB. In press.

49) Grant A. Rutledge, Howard J. Phang, Michael N. Le, Linsey Bui, Michael R. Rose, Laurence D. Mueller, and Mahtab Jafari. Diet and Botanical Supplementation: Combination Therapy for Healthspan Improvement? 2019. Rejuvenation Research. In press.
National Institute of Healthcare Research/Templeton Foundation 1998-2000 Educational Grants in Spirituality and Medicine Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, Ca Role: Principal Investigator
National Institute of Healthcare Research/Templeton Foundation 2000-2002 Educational Grants in Spirituality and Medicine University of California, Irvine Role: Co-Principal Investigator
R01 GM085251-01 (NIH) 3/01/2009 - 2/28/2013 Drosophila as a Model for Chemotherapy Pharmacogenomics Role: Co-investigator, University of California, Irvine (PI: Anthony Long)
AG-NS-0495-08 Ellison Medical Foundation 8/1/2008 - 7/31/2012 The Role of Mitochondrial Superoxide in Aging Role: Supervisor, University of California, Irvine (PI: Samuel E. Shriner)
R21AT004987-01A2 (NIH) 4/01/2010 - 3/31/2013 Botanicals, Mitochondrial Bioenergetics, and Aging Pathways Role: Principal Investigator, University of California, Irvine
R21CA152804-01A1 (NIH) 3/08/2011-2/28/2013 Rhodiola rosea Extracts, Salidroside and Bladder Cancer Chemoprevention Role: Co-investigator, University of California, Irvine (PI: Xiaolin Zi)
UCI Bridge Funds 8/2012-6/2013 Role: Principle Investigator, University of California, Irvine
UCI/Ewha Women University in Seoul, Korea Collaborative Grant Korean Botanicals, Lifespan and Health Span 4/2015-4/2016 & 4/2016-4/2017 Role: Principle Investigator at UCI (Eun-Kyoung Seo, PhD was PI in Seoul, Korea)
School of Medicine and Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences 7/2017-7/2018 Collaborative Grant The Impact of Metformin, Rapamycin, and Rhodiola rosea on Surrogate Biomarkers of Lifespan and Healthspan in Leptin Receptor Mutant Mice Role: Co-Principle Investigator from Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, Irvine
HL-31210 (NIH), Grant in Aid from the American Heart Association, Hyseq, Inc. 1998-2002 Pharmacogenomics of Cardiovascular Therapies The major goal of this project was to evaluate the impact of pharmacogenomics variables on response to lipid lowering medications. Role: Co-Investigator, University of California, Irvine (PI: John Kane, MD, PhD, UCSF)
Other Experience
Senior Research Scientist
Abbott Laboratories 2001—2004

Regional Scientific Manager
Abbott Laboratories 2004—2005

Graduate Programs
Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology

Pharmacological Sciences

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