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CIHR Skin Research Training Centre
Core Mentors: Dr. Aziz Ghahary

Aziz Ghahary, PhD
Director, BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn and Wound Healing Research Group
Professor, Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Associate Member, Dermatology and Skin Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Active Staff Member, Vancouver General Hospital

ICORD, the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre
4550, 818 West 10th. Avenue
Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1M9
Phone: 604-675-8862
Fax: 604-675-8820
Website: http://icord.org/researchers/dr-aziz-ghahary/
Email: aziz.ghahary@ubc.ca



1971 BSc, University of Ahwaz, Iran
1976 MSc, Public Health, University of Tehran, Iran
1988 PhD, Physiology, University of Manitoba 

Awards and honors

2011 Richard J. Finley Senior Scholar Award
2011 Best Oral presentation in ABA/Canadian Interest group
2006 Canadian Biomaterials Society Travel Award
2003 Award for the best poster in CIHR/ IMHA’s 2002-2003 Poster Competition in the Category of
Experienced Investigators
2005 The 2005 J. Gordin Kaplan Award
2002 AHFMR Travel Award
2001 Louis D. Hyndman Sr. Scientific Award    

Grant Support

Transplant Research Foundation of BC
Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR)
Collaborative Health Research Program (NSERC/CIHR)
International Association of Firefighter Award (IAFF award).
UBC Department of Surgery Concept Award
University Hospital Foundation/Alberta Health Sciences Research Institute
Edmonton Civic Employ
Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR)/ Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA)
Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Technology Commercialization Award
The University Hospital AIDS Network
The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation
International Association of Firefighters Burn Foundation
Medical Research Council of Canada
Children’s Health Foundation of Northern Alberta
Medical Research Council of Canada
Children’s Health Foundation
Central Research Funding 

Research interest

Dr. Ghahary works on the biology of wound healing, including burns and other non-healing wounds. He is researching a biological skin substitute for burn patients and ways to treat scarring. He is also working to develop a liquid skin material for use on non-healing wounds. Such a material would provide a scaffold for the patient’s skin to close and begin to heal the wound. Currently his research is directed toward finding new strategies to deal with the non-healing pressure ulcers which are often seen in people with SCI.
Dr. Ghahary’s work will soon make it from bench to bedside: the results of his research will soon be used to treat patients directly. He has already developed a cream which decreases scarring for burn patients and those recovering from surgery. Another focus of his research is type I diabetes; he has shown that blood sugar levels can be controlled by transplanting insulin-producing cells into a diabetic patient’s kidney, eliminating the need for insulin injections. The molecule IDO, utilized in this treatment as an immunosuppressant to protect these transplanted cells, could also lead to the development of a non-rejectable skin substitute.
For Dr. Ghahary, “being part of the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre is a huge advantage; it has all the tools and equipment a group needs to pursue research, but most importantly it allows collaborations and excellent administration.” With so much connection among the labs, everyone has the opportunity to learn.
The goal of Dr. Ghahary’s work is to help patients survive a terrible injury. According to Dr. Ghahary, he spends more time coming up with solutions for type I diabetes or wound healing than thinking about his own children. “Science is all the time, not just nine to five!”

Current lab members

Ruhangiz Kilani (Senior research associate)
Reza Jalili (Postdoctoral fellow)
Yunyuan Li (Postdoctoral fellow)
Ryan Hartwell (PhD student)
Azadeh Hosseini-Tabatabaei (PhD student)
Layla Nabai (PhD student)
Malihesadat Poormasjedimibod (PhD student)
Yun Zhang (PhD student)
Matthew Carr (MSc)
Sanam Salimi (MSc)
Moreza Bahar (MSc) 

Selected recent publications

  1. Curran, T.A., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Evidence of a Role for Fibrocyte and Keratinocyte-Like Cells in the Formation of Hypertrophic Scars. J Burn Care Res.
  2. Zhang, Y., Jalili, R.B., Warnock, G.L., Ao, Z., Marzban, L., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Three-dimensional scaffolds reduce islet amyloid formation and enhance survival and function of cultured human islets. Am J Pathol 181:1296-1305.
  3. Akbari, A., Li, Y., Kilani, R.T., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Red blood cell lysate modulates the expression of extracellular matrix proteins in dermal fibroblasts. Mol Cell Biochem.
  4. Rahmani-Neishaboor, E., Hartwell, R., Jalili, R., Jackson, J., Brown, E., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Localized controlled release of stratifin reduces implantation-induced dermal fibrosis. Acta Biomater 8:3660-3668.
  5. Hosseini-Tabatabaei, A., Jalili, R.B., Li, Y., Kilani, R.T., Moeen Rezakhanlou, A., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Mechanism underlying defective interferon gamma-induced IDO expression in non-obese diabetic mouse fibroblasts. PLoS One 7:e37747.
  6. Chavez-Munoz, C., Hartwell, R., Jalili, R.B., Jafarnejad, S.M., Lai, A., Nabai, L., Ghaffari, A., Hojabrpour, P., Kanaan, N., Duronio, V., et al. 2012. SPARC/SFN interaction, suppresses type I collagen in dermal fibroblasts. J Cell Biochem 113:2622-2632.
  7. Chavez-Munoz, C., Hartwell, R., Jalili, R.B., Carr, M., Kilani, R.T., Jafarnejad, S.M., Rahmani-Neishabour, E., Forouzandeh, F., Boyce, S.T., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Application of an indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-expressing skin substitute improves scar formation in a fibrotic animal model. J Invest Dermatol 132:1501-1505.
  8. Bahar, M.A., Nabai, L., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Immunoprotective role of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase in engraftment of allogenic skin substitute in wound healing. J Burn Care Res 33:364-370.
  9. Lai, A., Ghaffari, A., Li, Y., and Ghahary, A. 2012. Microarray-based identification of aminopeptidase N target genes in keratinocyte conditioned medium-stimulated dermal fibroblasts. J Cell Biochem 113:1061-1068.
  10. Asdaghi, N., Kilani, R.T., Hosseini-Tabatabaei, A., Odemuyiwa, S.O., Hackett, T.L., Knight, D.A., Ghahary, A., and Moqbel, R. 2012. Extracellular 14-3-3 from human lung epithelial cells enhances MMP-1 expression. Mol Cell Biochem 360:261-270.
  11. Hartwell, R., Leung, V., Chavez-Munoz, C., Nabai, L., Yang, H., Ko, F., and Ghahary, A. 2011. A novel hydrogel-collagen composite improves functionality of an injectable extracellular matrix. Acta Biomater 7:3060-3069.
  12. Jalili, R.B., Moeen Rezakhanlou, A., Hosseini-Tabatabaei, A., Ao, Z., Warnock, G.L., and Ghahary, A. 2011. Fibroblast populated collagen matrix promotes islet survival and reduces the number of islets required for diabetes reversal. J Cell Physiol 226:1813-1819.
  13. Li, Y., Kilani, R.T., Hartwell, R., and Ghahary, A. 2012. MAP kinase mediates silica-induced fibrotic nodule formation and collagen accumulation in fibroblasts. J Cell Physiol 227:328-338.
  14. Carr, M., Chavez-Munoz, C., Lai, A., and Ghahary, A. 2011. Dermal fibroblasts influence the expression profile of 14-3-3 proteins in human keratinocytes. Mol Cell Biochem 353:205-214.
  15. Lai, A., Ghaffari, A., Li, Y., and Ghahary, A. 2011. Paracrine regulation of fibroblast aminopeptidase N/CD13 expression by keratinocyte-releasable stratifin. J Cell Physiol 226:3114-3120.
  16. Moeen Rezakhanlou, A., Miller, C., McMullin, B., Ghaffari, A., Garcia, R., and Ghahary, A. 2011. Gaseous nitric oxide exhibits minimal effect on skin fibroblast extracellular matrix gene expression and immune cell viability. Cell Biol Int 35:407-415.
  17. Forouzandeh, F., Jalili, R.B., Hartwell, R.V., Allan, S.E., Boyce, S., Supp, D., and Ghahary, A. 2010. Local expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase suppresses T-cell-mediated rejection of an engineered bilayer skin substitute. Wound Repair Regen 18:614-623.
  18. Medina, A., and Ghahary, A. 2011. Reprogrammed fibrocytes induce a mixed Th1/Th2 cytokine response of naive CD4(+) T cells. Mol Cell Biochem 346:89-94.
  19. Crome, S.Q., Clive, B., Wang, A.Y., Kang, C.Y., Chow, V., Yu, J., Lai, A., Ghahary, A., Broady, R., and Levings, M.K. 2010. Inflammatory effects of ex vivo human Th17 cells are suppressed by regulatory T cells. J Immunol 185:3199-3208.
  20. Ghaffari, A., Li, Y., Kilani, R.T., and Ghahary, A. 2010. 14-3-3 sigma associates with cell surface aminopeptidase N in the regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-1. J Cell Sci 123:2996-3005.
  21. Habibi, D., Jalili, R.B., Forouzandeh, F., Ong, C.J., and Ghahary, A. 2010. High expression of IMPACT protein promotes resistance to indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-induced cell death. J Cell Physiol 225:196-205.
  22. Lai, A., Ghaffari, A., and Ghahary, A. 2010. Inhibitory effect of anti-aminopeptidase N/CD13 antibodies on fibroblast migration. Mol Cell Biochem 343:191-199.
  23. Jalili, R.B., Forouzandeh, F., Rezakhanlou, A.M., Hartwell, R., Medina, A., Warnock, G.L., Larijani, B., and Ghahary, A. 2010. Local expression of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase in syngeneic fibroblasts significantly prolongs survival of an engineered three-dimensional islet allograft. Diabetes 59:2219-2227.
  24. Medina, A., and Ghahary, A. 2010. Transdifferentiated circulating monocytes release exosomes containing 14-3-3 proteins with matrix metalloproteinase-1 stimulating effect for dermal fibroblasts. Wound Repair Regen 18:245-253.
  25. Rezakhanlou, A.M., Habibi, D., Lai, A., Jalili, R.B., Ong, C.J., and Ghahary, A. 2010. Highly efficient stable expression of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase gene in primary fibroblasts. Biol Proced Online 12:9028.
  26. Chavez-Munoz, C., Kilani, R.T., and Ghahary, A. 2009. Profile of exosomes related proteins released by differentiated and undifferentiated human keratinocytes. J Cell Physiol 221:221-231.
  27. Li, M., Moeen Rezakhanlou, A., Chavez-Munoz, C., Lai, A., and Ghahary, A. 2009. Keratinocyte-releasable factors increased the expression of MMP1 and MMP3 in co-cultured fibroblasts under both 2D and 3D culture conditions. Mol Cell Biochem 332:1-8.
  28. Jalili, R.B., Forouzandeh, F., Moeenrezakhanlou, A., Rayat, G.R., Rajotte, R.V., Uludag, H., and Ghahary, A. 2009. Mouse pancreatic islets are resistant to indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase-induced general control nonderepressible-2 kinase stress pathway and maintain normal viability and function. Am J Pathol 174:196-205.
  29. Ghaffari, A., Kilani, R.T., and Ghahary, A. 2009. Keratinocyte-conditioned media regulate collagen expression in dermal fibroblasts. J Invest Dermatol 129:340-347.
  30. Kilani, R.T., Medina, A., Aitken, A., Jalili, R.B., Carr, M., and Ghahary, A. 2008. Identification of different isoforms of 14-3-3 protein family in human dermal and epidermal layers. Mol Cell Biochem 314:161-169.
  31. Chavez-Munoz, C., Morse, J., Kilani, R., and Ghahary, A. 2008. Primary human keratinocytes externalize stratifin protein via exosomes. J Cell Biochem 104:2165-2173.

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