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Ahmad Besaratinia, PhD
Associate Professor of Research Preventive Medicine
Preventive Medicine
NRT 1509A 1450 Biggy Street Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 442 0088


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.


Expression of epigenetic modifiers is not significantly altered by exposure to secondhand smoke. Lung Cancer. 2015 Dec; 90(3):598-603. View in: PubMed

Exposure of mice to secondhand smoke elicits both transient and long-lasting transcriptional changes in cancer-related functional networks. Int J Cancer. 2015 May 15; 136(10):2253-63. View in: PubMed

The lingering question of menthol in cigarettes. Cancer Causes Control. 2015 Feb; 26(2):165-9. View in: PubMed

Epigenetics of human melanoma: promises and challenges. J Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Oct; 6(5):356-67. View in: PubMed

Electronic cigarettes: The road ahead. Prev Med. 2014 Sep; 66:65-7. View in: PubMed

Epigenetic targeting of the Nanog pathway and signaling networks during chemical carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis. 2014 Aug; 35(8):1726-36. View in: PubMed

Alterations of DNA methylome in human bladder cancer. Epigenetics. 2013 Oct 1; 8(10):1013-22. View in: PubMed

Genotoxicity of tobacco smoke-derived aromatic amines and bladder cancer: current state of knowledge and future research directions. FASEB J. 2013 Jun; 27(6):2090-100. View in: PubMed

Mammalian cells acquire epigenetic hallmarks of human cancer during immortalization. Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Jan 7; 41(1):182-95. View in: PubMed

Whole DNA methylome profiling in mice exposed to secondhand smoke. Epigenetics. 2012 Nov; 7(11):1302-14. View in: PubMed

A high-throughput next-generation sequencing-based method for detecting the mutational fingerprint of carcinogens. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Aug; 40(15):e116. View in: PubMed

New experimental data linking secondhand smoke exposure to lung cancer in nonsmokers. FASEB J. 2012 May; 26(5):1845-54. View in: PubMed

Interactions between hepatitis B virus and aflatoxin B(1): effects on p53 induction in HepaRG cells. J Gen Virol. 2012 Mar; 93(Pt 3):640-50. View in: PubMed

Organ specificity of the bladder carcinogen 4-aminobiphenyl in inducing DNA damage and mutation in mice. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Feb; 5(2):299-308. View in: PubMed

UV wavelength-dependent DNA damage and human non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer. Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2012 Jan; 11(1):90-7. View in: PubMed

Measuring the formation and repair of UV damage at the DNA sequence level by ligation-mediated PCR. Methods Mol Biol. 2012; 920:189-202. View in: PubMed

Whole body exposure of mice to secondhand smoke induces dose-dependent and persistent promutagenic DNA adducts in the lung. Mutat Res. 2011 Nov 1; 716(1-2):92-8. View in: PubMed

Wavelength dependence of ultraviolet radiation-induced DNA damage as determined by laser irradiation suggests that cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers are the principal DNA lesions produced by terrestrial sunlight. FASEB J. 2011 Sep; 25(9):3079-91. View in: PubMed

Loss of Rassf1a enhances p53-mediated tumor predisposition and accelerates progression to aneuploidy. Oncogene. 2011 Feb 10; 30(6):690-700. View in: PubMed

Uveal melanoma and GNA11 mutations: a new piece added to the puzzle. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2011 Feb; 24(1):18-20. View in: PubMed

Unveiling the methylation status of CpG dinucleotides in the substituted segment of the human p53 knock-in (Hupki) mouse genome. Mol Carcinog. 2010 Dec; 49(12):999-1006. View in: PubMed

Applications of the human p53 knock-in (Hupki) mouse model for human carcinogen testing. FASEB J. 2010 Aug; 24(8):2612-9. View in: PubMed

Transcription-dependent cytosine deamination is a novel mechanism in ultraviolet light-induced mutagenesis. Curr Biol. 2010 Jan 26; 20(2):170-5. View in: PubMed

Investigating the epigenetic effects of a prototype smoke-derived carcinogen in human cells. PLoS One. 2010; 5(5):e10594. View in: PubMed

In vitro recapitulating of TP53 mutagenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma associated with dietary aflatoxin B1 exposure. Gastroenterology. 2009 Sep; 137(3):1127-37, 1137. e1-5. View in: PubMed

Mutational spectra of human cancer. Hum Genet. 2009 Jun; 125(5-6):493-506. View in: PubMed

Acrolein: excessive cytotoxicity or potent mutagenicity? Chem Res Toxicol. Acrolein: excessive cytotoxicity or potent mutagenicity? Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 May; 22(5):751-3; author reply 753-4. View in: PubMed

DNA-lesion mapping in mammalian cells. Methods. 2009 May; 48(1):35-9. View in: PubMed

Sunlight ultraviolet irradiation and BRAF V600 mutagenesis in human melanoma. Hum Mutat. 2008 Aug; 29(8):983-91. View in: PubMed

Second-hand smoke and human lung cancer. Lancet Oncol. 2008 Jul; 9(7):657-66. View in: PubMed

Rapid repair of UVA-induced oxidized purines and persistence of UVB-induced dipyrimidine lesions determine the mutagenicity of sunlight in mouse cells. FASEB J. 2008 Jul; 22(7):2379-92. View in: PubMed

Lack of mutagenicity of acrolein-induced DNA adducts in mouse and human cells. Cancer Res. 2007 Dec 15; 67(24):11640-7. View in: PubMed

Riboflavin activated by ultraviolet A1 irradiation induces oxidative DNA damage-mediated mutations inhibited by vitamin C. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Apr 3; 104(14):5953-8. View in: PubMed

Mutagenicity of ultraviolet A radiation in the lacI transgene in Big Blue mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Mutat Res. 2007 Apr 1; 617(1-2):71-8. View in: PubMed

A review of mechanisms of acrylamide carcinogenicity. Carcinogenesis. 2007 Mar; 28(3):519-28. View in: PubMed

Investigating human cancer etiology by DNA lesion footprinting and mutagenicity analysis. Carcinogenesis. 2006 Aug; 27(8):1526-37. View in: PubMed

The role of DNA polymerase iota in UV mutational spectra. Mutat Res. 2006 Jul 25; 599(1-2):58-65. View in: PubMed

DNA lesions induced by UV A1 and B radiation in human cells: comparative analyses in the overall genome and in the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 19; 102(29):10058-63. View in: PubMed

Investigating DNA adduct-targeted mutagenicity of tamoxifen: preferential formation of tamoxifen-DNA adducts in the human p53 gene in SV40 immortalized hepatocytes but not endometrial carcinoma cells. Biochemistry. 2005 Jun 14; 44(23):8418-27. View in: PubMed

Mutations induced by ultraviolet light. Mutat Res. 2005 Apr 1; 571(1-2):19-31. View in: PubMed

DNA adduction and mutagenic properties of acrylamide. Mutat Res. 2005 Feb 7; 580(1-2):31-40. View in: PubMed

Similar mutagenicity of photoactivated porphyrins and ultraviolet A radiation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts: involvement of oxidative DNA lesions in mutagenesis. Biochemistry. 2004 Dec 14; 43(49):15557-66. View in: PubMed

Biological consequences of 8-methoxypsoralen-photoinduced lesions: sequence-specificity of mutations and preponderance of T to C and T to a mutations. J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Dec; 123(6):1140-6. View in: PubMed

DNA damage, repair, and mutation induction by (+)-Syn and (-)-anti-dibenzo[a,l]pyrene-11,12-diol-13,14-epoxides in mouse cells. Cancer Res. 2004 Oct 15; 64(20):7321-8. View in: PubMed

Genotoxicity of acrylamide and glycidamide. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Jul 7; 96(13):1023-9. View in: PubMed

G-to-T transversions and small tandem base deletions are the hallmark of mutations induced by ultraviolet a radiation in mammalian cells. Biochemistry. 2004 Jun 29; 43(25):8169-77. View in: PubMed

Enhancement of the mutagenicity of benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide by a nonmutagenic dose of ultraviolet A radiation. Cancer Res. 2003 Dec 15; 63(24):8708-16. View in: PubMed

Weak yet distinct mutagenicity of acrylamide in mammalian cells. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Jun 18; 95(12):889-96. View in: PubMed

Mutational signature of the proximate bladder carcinogen N-hydroxy-4-acetylaminobiphenyl: inconsistency with the p53 mutational spectrum in bladder cancer. Cancer Res. 2002 Aug 1; 62(15):4331-8. View in: PubMed

A molecular dosimetry approach to assess human exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in pubs. Carcinogenesis. 2002 Jul; 23(7):1171-6. View in: PubMed

Biomonitoring of tobacco smoke carcinogenicity by dosimetry of DNA adducts and genotyping and phenotyping of biotransformational enzymes: a review on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Biomarkers. 2002 May-Jun; 7(3):209-29. View in: PubMed

Effects of oral administration of N-acetyl-L-cysteine: a multi-biomarker study in smokers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Feb; 11(2):167-75. View in: PubMed

A multi-biomarker approach to study the effects of smoking on oxidative DNA damage and repair and antioxidative defense mechanisms. Carcinogenesis. 2001 Mar; 22(3):395-401. View in: PubMed

Immunoperoxidase detection of 4-aminobiphenyl- and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons-DNA adducts in induced sputum of smokers and non-smokers. Mutat Res. 2000 Jul 10; 468(2):125-35. View in: PubMed

Comparison between smoking-related DNA adduct analysis in induced sputum and peripheral blood lymphocytes. Carcinogenesis. 2000 Jul; 21(7):1335-40. View in: PubMed

Applicability of induced sputum for molecular dosimetry of exposure to inhalatory carcinogens: 32P-postlabeling of lipophilic DNA adducts in smokers and nonsmokers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000 Apr; 9(4):367-72. View in: PubMed

Immunoperoxidase detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts in mouth floor and buccal mucosa cells of smokers and nonsmokers. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2000; 36(2):127-33. View in: PubMed

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