Ahmad Besaratinia, PhD, MPH

Professor of Research Population and Public Health Sciences



Dr. Besaratinia has a long-standing interest in research on the underlying causes of human cancer. His research focuses on the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of carcinogenesis with a special emphasis on DNA damage and repair, mutagenesis, DNA methylation, and histone modifications. Utilizing a combination of classic molecular biology techniques and state-of-the-art next-generation sequencing-based technologies, including in-house developed/refined methodologies, Dr. Besaratinia's laboratory is characterizing the genetic and epigenetic aberrancies that occur during the initiation and progression of human cancer. Of particular interest is the re-shaping of genome and epigenome in malignancies with modifiable risk factors (e.g., environment, diet, and lifestyle). To elucidate the interplay of genetics, epigenetics, and environment/lifestyle factors in the genesis and progression of human cancer, his group is investigating sunlight ultraviolet (UV) -associated melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and tobacco-related lung- and bladder cancers. These investigations are expected to identify functionally important genetic and epigenetic alterations ? dependent on or independently of environment or lifestyle ? that can determine cancer development. Increasing the mechanistic knowledge of cancer initiation and progression is critical to developing innovative strategies for prevention, early detection, treatment, and prognosis of this disease.

Courses Taught

  • Epigenetics in Health and Disease
  • Biological and Behavioral Basis of Disease
  • Culture, Lifestyle, and Health
  • Health Behavior Research Methods