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Epigenetic Reprogramming

Group leader:
Hossein Baharvand, Ph.D

Chief Researcher:
Mehdi Totonchi, Ph.D
Mehdi Totonchi was born in 1979 in Badrood, Esfahan, Iran. He studied for a B.Sc in Biology at the University of Bu-Ali Sina in Hamedan from 1997-2002.  In 2005, he received his M.Sc in the field of Molecular Genetics at Azad University of Research Sciences. For the next three years, he was a research assistant in the Department of Genetics and Stem Cells at Royan Institute. There, he was involved in the generation of the first induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) in Iran. In 2013, he finished his PhD at the joint program of the University of Science and Culture and Royan Institute in the field of Developmental Biology.

Research Assistants:
Maryam Hajikaram (M.Sc)
Mehdi Hesaraki (M.Sc)
Zeynab Taghizadeh (M.Sc)
Tahereh Kiyani (M.Sc)
Farhad Bazgir (M.Sc)

Sharif Moradi (Ph.D)
Reyhaneh Khoshchehreh (Ph.D Student)
Fatemeh Shahryari (Ph.D Student)
Narges Jafari (M.Sc Student)
Mojtaba Nemati (M.Sc Student)
Zohre Mansouri (M.Sc Student)

Vahid Ezzatizadeh (P.hD)

Epigenetic reprogramming, which can be considered the biological breakthrough of the decade, can be categorized into in vitro and in vivo trials. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the study of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) biology and cell fate conversion because of the potential of iPSC in regenerative medicine, disease modeling, drug discovery and in vitro analysis of development, which have led scientists to enthusiastically embrace this field. 
Our group performs its assignments both as a viral transduction core facility and in independent research projects. Since the establishment of first iPSC lines, our group decided to narrow its activities to some major fields, including:
A. Establishment of patient specific iPSCs, genetic correction and functional analysis of these cells in order to study the disease mechanisms, development and disease modeling for drug discovery trials. iPSC technology has provided scientists with patient-derived pluripotent stem cells that can be differentiated towards interesting cells affected by certain diseases. To reach this goal, we have established iPSC lines from some diseases.
B. Movement towards production of iPSCs. Regarding this, we have launched some projects to generate safer iPSCs using small molecules, recombinant proteins and synthetic mRNAs.
C. Direct transdifferentiation of terminally differentiated cells and studying cell fate conversion. Due to the importance of this issue in regenerative medicine, our group has set this goal as one of its highest priorities and enthusiastically follows this plan.
D. Computational modeling of genetic/epigenetic mutual interaction within pluripotent and differentiated cells. The Waddington landscape approach to this problem has recently provided insights into several key issues of differentiation. Our aim is to develop a computational platform for quantitative analysis and prediction of events during pluripotency and differentiation.

Progress towards safer iPSCs.

Characterization of established hiPSCs under CM and FFM culture.

•    Generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells from a Bombay individual: Moving towards “universal-donor” red blood cells. Seifinejad A, Taei A, Totonchi M, Vazirinasab H, Hassani SN, Aghdami N, Shahbazi E, Yazdi RS, Salekdeh GH, Baharvand H. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Jan 1;391(1):329-34. Epub 2009 Nov 11.

•    Feeder- and serum-free establishment and expansion of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Totonchi M, Taei A, Seifinejad A, Tabebordbar M, Rassouli H, Farrokhi A, Gourabi H, Aghdami N, Hosseini-Salekdeh G, Baharvand H. Int J Dev Biol. 2010;54(5):877-86.

•    Human-induced pluripotent stem cells: Derivation, propagation, and freezing in serum- and feeder layer-free culture conditions. Baharvand H, Totonchi M, Taei A, Seifinejad A, Aghdami N, Salekdeh GH. Methods Mol Biol. 2010;584:425-43.

•    Generation of liver disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells along with efficient differentiation to functional hepatocyte-like cells. Ghodsizadeh A, Taei A, Totonchi M, Seifinejad A, Gourabi H, Pournasr B, Aghdami N, Malekzadeh R, Almadani N, Salekdeh GH, Baharvand H. Stem Cell Rev. 2010 Dec;6(4):622-32.

•    Human cardiomyocytes with long-QT syndrome in dish. Seifinejad A, Baharvand H. Arch Iran Med. 2010 Nov;13(6):573-5. No abstract available.

•    Progress and promise towards safe induced pluripotent stem cells for therapy. Seifinejad A, Tabebordbar M, Baharvand H, Boyer LA, Salekdeh GH. Stem Cell Rev. 2010 Jun;6(2):297-306. Review.

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