Babak is originally from Iran. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Cellular & Molecular Biology (Microbiology) followed by working as a research associate at the Central Pathology Laboratory of Tehran University, Faculty of Medicine. He then completed a Master’s Degree in Management of Medical Information Technology (Tehran Polytechnic). He moved to Canada after that to continue his studies and to focus more on his area of interests. His commitment is to perform novel research in the field of cancer genetics.
Babak joined the Berman Lab in September 2011 and has since been studying HACE1. The HACE1 is a novel tumor suppressor gene (human chromosome 6q21) and was first identified in a Wilms’ tumor from a 5-month-old male child diagnosed and treated at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. HACE1 is downregulated in a variety of other human cancers including melanoma, lymphoma, breast, lung and colon cancers making it a new and potentially broadly applicable genetic target. Using advanced techniques in molecular biology and unique tools available in the zebrafish field, Babak has been able to report a new role for hace1 in regulating levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). His novel finding were published recently in the journal, Nature Communications, together with collaborators at the University of British Columbia showing that HACE1 regulates production of ROS and DNA damage in both mice and zebrafish, most likely through its interaction with its only known ubiquitination target, the small GTPase, Rac1. In addition, Babak studies the role of HACE1 on the survival and behaviour of neuroblastoma cells in vivo,using xenotransplantation experiments +/- treatments. He has also shed light on a possible role of hace1 in normal development and proper function of the heart via a ROS-dependent mechanism (manuscript in preparation). Ultimately, these findings may impact development of cancer treatments and a better understanding of congenital heart disease.
In his free time, Babak likes to spend time with his friends, playing tennis, listening to music, and he is trying to learn more about professional photography.
- A rapid and effective method for screening, sequencing and reporter verification of engineered frameshift mutations in zebrafish.” Disease Models & Mechanisms (2017): dmm-026765.
- Hace1 controls ROS generation of vertebrate Rac1-dependent NADPH oxidase complexes. Nature Commun. 2013 Jul 17. doi:10.1038/ncomms3180.