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. 196 available »

2017 Jan
Ahmad T, Sundar IK, Tormos AM, Lerner CA, Gerloff J, Yao H, Rahman I. "Shelterin Telomere Protection Protein 1 Reduction Causes Telomere Attrition and Cellular Senescence via Sirtuin 1 Deacetylase in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease." American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology. 2017 Jan; 56(1):38-49.
2016 Dec 1
Sundar IK, Rahman I. "Gene expression profiling of epigenetic chromatin modification enzymes and histone marks by cigarette smoke: implications for COPD and lung cancer." American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology. 2016 Dec 1; 311(6):L1245-L1258. Epub 2016 Oct 28.
2016 Dec
Lerner CA, Sundar IK, Rahman I. "Mitochondrial redox system, dynamics, and dysfunction in lung inflammaging and COPD." The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology. 2016 Dec; 81(Pt B):294-306. Epub 2016 Jul 26.
2016 Sep 2
Lerner CA, Rutagarama P, Ahmad T, Sundar IK, Elder A, Rahman I. "Electronic cigarette aerosols and copper nanoparticles induce mitochondrial stress and promote DNA fragmentation in lung fibroblasts." Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2016 Sep 2; 477(4):620-5. Epub 2016 Jun 23.
2016 May
Pagano T, DiFrancesco AG, Smith SB, George J, Wink G, Rahman I, Robinson RJ. "Determination of Nicotine Content and Delivery in Disposable Electronic Cigarettes Available in the United States by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry." Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. 2016 May; 18(5):700-7. Epub 2015 Jun 04.

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