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Texas Biomed Announces New Faculty Member for Quantitative Biology

Diako Ebrahimi
Assistant Professor Diako Ebrahimi, Ph.D.

Texas Biomedical Research Institute has recruited a new faculty member to San Antonio. Diako Ebrahimi, Ph.D., begins his new position today as Assistant Professor at Texas Biomed. He will establish his own research program in quantitative biology related to the fields of viral and cancer immunology and also collaborate on research projects with Texas Biomed Faculty. Dr. Ebrahimi’s recruitment is part of the Institute’s 10-year strategic plan to recruit nearly 20 new faculty members and double the size of the Institute.

“My goal is to develop a collaborative and cross-disciplinary research program that combines multi-omic quantitative analysis with targeted experimental strategies to identify and answer key questions in the fields of viral and cancer immunity,” Ebrahimi shared. “Currently, large amounts of data are being generated across disciplines to study complex biological processes. However, cross-disciplinary quantitative skills are urgently needed to analyze and interpret these massive datasets and direct future targeted experiments.”

Dr. Ebrahimi joins Texas Biomed from the University of Minnesota where he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics. He is currently the principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant focused on Molecular Determinants of HIV Hypermutation that runs through 2020 and another study that concludes this year. For nearly 10 years, Dr. Ebrahimi has focused his research efforts on combining data and information from a variety of scientific disciplines, from chemistry and virology to cancer, genomics, evolution and bioinformatics to develop new research initiatives in viral and cancer genomics using quantitative biology.

“My previous studies led to discoveries about the roles of methylation, a biochemical process necessary for normal function of biological processes in the body, and APOBEC-induced mutation in the inhibition and evolution of viruses,” Dr. Ebrahimi said. “My current studies focus on population-specific virus-host interaction mechanisms and dysregulated processes in cancer.” This information provides critical knowledge required to develop precision medicine strategies for prevention and/or treatment.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Minnesota, he was a research fellow and lecturer at the School of Medical Sciences and School of Chemistry at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia from 2007-2014.

“Dr. Ebrahimi is a critical hire for Texas Biomed as he strengthens our institutional expertise in quantitative biology, complements our ongoing research in HIV and other infectious diseases, and expands our focus to the study of the interface between immunology and cancer,” said Texas Biomed Vice President for Research Joanne Turner, Ph.D. “Dr. Ebrahimi will certainly enhance our collaborative culture, in line with our institutional values. I anticipate that Diako will quickly form several collaborations inside and outside of Texas Biomed that will enhance his own science and the science of others.”

Dr. Ebrahimi has published more than 30 journal articles and holds numerous awards and honors. Most recently, he was selected as the 2018 Reviewers’ Choice award recipient from the American Society for Human Genetics and received a New Investigator Scholarship in 2018 from the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. He is a member of the American Society for Human Genetics and American Society for Microbiology among several others.

“Texas Biomed has a very strong, visionary and committed leadership team with amazing resources, great scientists with diverse backgrounds and faculty who acknowledge the importance of cross-disciplinary quantitative biology research,” Dr. Ebrahimi said. “It is a very collaborative environment, and San Antonio is a beautiful city!”

Dr. Ebrahimi received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Chamran University in Ahvaz, Iran and his Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry from Razi University in Kermanshah, Iran. He obtained his Ph.D. in Quantitative Chemistry in 2007 from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

He is married to Dr. Leila Hejazi, who is a Senior Chemist at Medtronic. They have two daughters – Jino, who is 14 and looks forward to joining a new swim team in San Antonio and Rojin who is 5 and enjoys dance. As a family, they enjoy road trips, touring much of the U.S., including trips from San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego, as well as Minneapolis, Chicago, Toronto and Niagara Falls among several others. They have already toured the “Texas Triangle” with a road trip through Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Galveston.