Principal Investigator

Irfan Rahman, Ph.D. University of Rochester work Box 850 601 Elmwood Ave Rochester NY 14642 office: MRBX 3-11106 p (585) 275-6911


  • November 16, 2016

    First-ever Study Shows E-cigarettes Cause Damage to Gum Tissue

    A University of Rochester Medical Center study suggests that electronic cigarettes are as equally damaging to gums and teeth as conventional cigarettes.

    The study, published in Oncotarget, was led by Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is the first scientific study to address e-cigarettes and their detrimental effect on oral health on cellular and molecular levels. Electronic cigarettes continue to grow in popularity among younger adults and current and former smokers because they are often perceived as a healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes. Previously, scientists thought that the chemicals found in cigarette smoke were the culprits behind adverse health effects, but a growing body of scientific data, including this study, suggests otherwise.

    We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases, explained Rahman, who last year published a study about the damaging effects of e-cigarette vapors and flavorings on lung cells and an earlier study on the pollution effects. How much and how often someone is smoking e-cigarettes will determine the extent of damage to the gums and oral cavity.

  • February 11, 2015

    E-Cigarette Vapors, Flavorings, Trigger Lung Cell Stress

    Do electronic cigarettes help people quit smoking? As the debate continues on that point, a new University of Rochester study suggests that e-cigarettes are likely a toxic replacement for tobacco products.

    Emissions from e-cigarette aerosols and flavorings damage lung cells by creating harmful free radicals and inflammation in lung tissue, according to the UR study published in the journal PLOS ONE. Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry, led the research, which adds to a growing body of scientific data that points to dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping.

    Please view the NBC news video about this article.

  • February 9, 2015

    E-cigarette Vapors Can Damage Lung Cells

    A new study by University of Rochester suggests that e-cigarettes are likely to be a toxic replacement for tobacco products.

    Emissions from e-cigarette aerosols and flavourings damage lung cells by creating harmful free radicals and inflammation in lung tissue.

    Several leading medical groups, organizations and scientists are concerned about the lack of restrictions and regulations for e-cigarettes, said Irfan Rahman, lead author and professor of environmental medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center.

  • April 23, 2014

    Workshop on Environmental Epigenomics

    On April 24th the department of Environmental Medicine, in conjunction with the NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Center held a Workshop on Environmental Epigenomics in the URMC. Among the numerous colleagues and attendees were Dr. Trevor Archer (NIEHS), Dr. Cheryl Walker (Texas A&M), Dr. Dana Dolinoy (University of Michigan), and Dr. Moshe Szyf (McGill University).  The event was organized in part by Dr. Irfan Rahman

    See here for photos from the event.

  • February 14, 2014

    Rahman Group's Study Featured on the February 2014 Cover of the Journal of Proteome Research

    Exposure to cigarette smoke is known to cause changes in the chromatin -- the complex of DNA and proteins that make up a cell's nucleus. This can lead to chronic lung disease. UR researchers Irfan Rahman, Professor of Environmental Medicine and Pulmonary Diseases, and Alan Friedman, Assistant Professor of Environmental Medicine, are shedding light on the role of histones in this process. Histones are key proteins that pass along genetic information from parents to children, play a role in gene expression, and act as spools for DNA to wind around.

    Their study, featured on the cover of the Journal of Proteome Research (February 2014), reports that cigarette smoke induces specific post translational modifications in histones H3 and H4, which could serve as biomarkers to help identify and predict chronic lung diseases (COPD and lung cancer) induced by cigarette smoke. Their data may also help in our understanding of the epigenetic changes that occur during the development of these diseases.

  • January 6, 2014

    Dr. Irfan Rahman's Article About the "Grandmother" Clock Featured on Cover of FASEB Journal

    The Clockmaker, c. 1735, color engraving, Engelbrecht, Martin (1684–1756). Engelbrecht, a noted print-seller and engraver, was best known for his miniature theater dioramas. Eight scenery-like cards are inserted into a peep-box, aligned one behind the other, creating a three-dimensional view. These popular home-theaters have been cited by photographers and cinematographers for their dramatic optical effects. Some even suggest that they are forerunners of cable television. Our grandmother clock, an 18th-century Rococo extravaganza of ormolu scrolls and miniature dragons, stands stage center against a backdrop of cedar trees. Her body consists of two timepieces: one resting on her bosomy mantel and the other, a longcase model resting on curlicued paws. In her right hand, she dangles a pendulum—perhaps a reference to Galileo's discovery. The theatrical image may also be a tribute to Engelbrecht's hometown of Augsburg, the chief supplier of highly ornamental clocks to all of Europe. In this issue, we learn how tobacco smoke disrupts the circadian rhythm of clock gene expression, increasing lung inflammation to produce emphysema in mice via sirtuin 1 (SIRT1)-dependent acetylation of the core clock gene, brain and muscle aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like 1 (BMAL1). Image courtesy of Bibliothèque des Arts décoratifs, Paris, France/Archives Charmet/Bridgeman Art Library; Ann Weissmann, fine arts editor.

    Environmental Medicine professor, Irfan Rahman's current article has been featured on the cover of the Journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The article, entitled Circadian clock function is disrupted by environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke, leading to lung inflammation and injury via a SIRT1-BMAL1 pathway, deals with patients with obstructive lung diseases display abnormal circadian rhythms in lung function. The Rahman lab determined the mechanism whereby environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke (CS) modulates expression of the core clock gene BMAL1, through Sirtuin1 (SIRT1) deacetylase during lung inflammatory and injurious responses.

  • January 3, 2014

    Want To Sleep Peacefully? Quit Smoking, Study

    A University of Rochester study has found that smokers can have a good night's sleep just by giving up the habit. Researchers said that smoking leads to sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety, cognitive decline and mood disorders. Lack of sleep can result in lethargy, crankiness and bad temper.

    This study has found a common pathway whereby cigarette smoke impacts both pulmonary and neurophysiological function, Dr. Irfan Rahman from the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York said in a press release. We envisage that our findings will be the basis for future developments in the treatment of those patients who are suffering with tobacco smoke-mediated injuries and diseases.