Faculty Profile: Jafari, Mahtab

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Faculty Information Lab Information (Packet Type, Course Title, & Department) Location
Jafari, Mahtab
Lab Contact:
Mahtab Jafari
(949) 824-0145
Department: SOM - Pharmaceutical Sciences
3232 McGaugh Hall

Research Description

The use of animal models for screening and evaluating anti-aging pharmaceutical and botanical compounds is a promising approach for drug discovery. While testing anti-aging compounds using the premier animal genetic systems, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, has already started, the fundamental biological issues involved in such screening have not been systematically formulated. As a result, after selecting potential anti-aging compounds to be tested, we need appropriate methodologies to study the pharmacology of aging in model species. Once these methodologies or rules of investigation are developed, we may consider extrapolating these experimental findings with such systems to the treatment of human aging. However, there are a number of potential artifacts, confounds, and errors that can arise in such research programs. In order to minimize these problems, I developed the following assays as the rules of investigation in anti-aging pharmacology and am in the process of applying them to a number of potential anti-aging compounds. These are the rules of investigation that I propose: Since human adulthood is almost exclusively a period of aging, data that conflate aging and late life should not be extrapolated to human aging. 2) The response to candidate medications should show a normal drug-dose response pattern, although not necessarily a linear response. 3) Medicated animal models should not be hypometabolic. 4) Medicated animal models should not show pronounced reductions in fertility. 5) Medicated animal models should not exhibit general nervous system depression. 6) The effect of the medication should not be highly sensitive to the culture environment. 7) The effect of the medication should not be highly dependent on the genetic ancestry of the stock employed, leaving aside inbreeding, which should be avoided because humans are not generally inbred. While these rules do not guarantee successful extrapolation of successful drug results from the animal model to humans in a clinical setting, the failure to adhere to these rules should raise doubts about such extrapolation. In my research, I attempt to address this task. Interest in a career in biomedical research is required.

Requirements to Participate

All students start as Bio. 198, group research students. Progress to Bio. 199 status depends on the student's ability to work independently. NO student begins in the Bio. 199 course. Must be highly motivated to complete an independent project while working closely with the research staff and PI. Biology and Chemistry

Time Commitment per Week

10-12 hrs/wk

Faculty Means of Evaluation

A 2-year commitment and a desire to apply for a UROP grant, SURP fellowship, and Excellence in Research is recommended