Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.

Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 850
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-6911

Research Bio

Oxidant and cigarette smoke-mediated lung inflammation.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. It is a disabling condition associated with progressive breathlessness. COPD will account for over 6 million deaths per year in 2020 (3rd major cause of death), and move from the sixth- to the third-leading cause of death worldwide. In America, COPD affects 9% of residents aged 60 years and above and it ranked fourth in the recent morbidity survey of the elderly population. It is estimated that approximately 23.4 million people in the US have COPD and the health burden is $36.1 billions per year. At present, there is no effective treatment exists to halt the decline in lung function in response to smoking. This in turn reflects a lack of understanding of the specific cellular and molecular pathways triggered in the lung by tobacco smoke/oxidants.

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the redox signaling, mechanism of proinflammatory gene expression by studying the chromatin remodeling-epigenetic changes (histone acetylation/deacetylation) on pro-inflammatory genes, involvement of anti-inflammatory and anti-aging proteins sirtuins, and steroid resistance in chronic inflammatory diseases/COPD. Recent research includes in understanding the role of sirtuins in aging and accelerated decline in lung function and regulation of circadian genes. Our long-term goal is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in pathogenesis of COPD, and the potential benefit of therapeutic interventions in this debilitating disease.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Senior Investigator Award: The Oxygen Club of California 2006

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 172 available »

2015 Mar 19
Ahmad T, Sundar IK, Lerner CA, Gerloff J, Tormos AM, Yao H, Rahman I. "Impaired mitophagy leads to cigarette smoke stress-induced cellular senescence: Implications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2015 Mar 19; Epub 2015 Mar 19.
2015 Mar
Lerner CA, Sundar IK, Watson RM, Elder A, Jones R, Done D, Kurtzman R, Ossip DJ, Robinson R, McIntosh S, Rahman I. "Environmental health hazards of e-cigarettes and their components: Oxidants and copper in e-cigarette aerosols." Environmental pollution. 2015 Mar; 198:100-7. Epub 2015 Jan 09.
Lerner CA, Sundar IK, Yao H, Gerloff J, Ossip DJ, McIntosh S, Robinson R, Rahman I. "Vapors produced by electronic cigarettes and e-juices with flavorings induce toxicity, oxidative stress, and inflammatory response in lung epithelial cells and in mouse lung." PloS one. 2015 10(2):e0116732. Epub 2015 Feb 06.
2014 Feb 7
Rahman I, Sundar IK, Nevid MZ, Friedman AE. "Cigarette smoke induces distinct histone modifications in lung cells: implications for the pathogenesis of COPD and lung cancer." Journal of proteome research. 2014 Feb 7; 13(2):982-96. Epub 2013 Dec 13.
2014 Jan
Hwang JW, Sundar IK, Yao H, Sellix MT, Rahman I. "Circadian clock function is disrupted by environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke, leading to lung inflammation and injury via a SIRT1-BMAL1 pathway." FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2014 Jan; 28(1):176-94. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Environmental Medicine (SMD) - Primary
Professor - Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care (SMD)
Professor - Department of Public Health Sciences (SMD)


PhD | Biochemistry | Attended: Present
MS | Biochemistry | Attended: Present
BS | Biology and Chemistry | Attended: Present