Mehdi Totonchi Ph.D.

Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology

Assistant professor




Mehdi Totonchi was born on 1978 in Badroud, Isfahan. He earned his B. Sc. in Biology from Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran, and obtained his M. Sc. from Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran, in 2005. Next, he joined the Pluripotent Stem Cell research group in Royan Institute and earned his PhD from University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran. He founded the Gene Transformation lab and was the first researcher to successfully produce induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) in Iran. As of now, his research is on pluripotent stem cell epigenome and cellular reprogramming.

Genetic manipulation of cells can induce unwanted alterations. The Epigenetic Reprogramming research team seeks to change the identity of cells without genetic manipulation and produce personalized iPSCs for utilization in disease models, drug screening and cell therapy. After producing the first iPSC line, obtaining iPSCs from patient samples and designing various liver disease models, the Epigenetic Reprogramming research team acquired new initiatives; One of such was to obtain safe iPSCs. Safe iPSCs are cells that do not require the usage of any viral tools or genetic manipulations in the production phase. By using the state of the art method of using episimal vectors, the Epigenetic Reprogramming research team has successfully produced safe iPSCs. This achievement has brought us near to the goal of obtaining stem cells for each individual patient and using them in cell therapy. Another initiative is to increase the pluripotency levels in human stem cells by reprogramming naive stem cells. Last year, the Epigenetic Reprogramming research team successfully produced naive hSCs and naive human iPSCs.

MSc Students:

Mahsa Mohammadi (MSc Student)

PhD Students:

Hadi Najafi (PhD Student)

Parisa Nikasa (PhD Student)

Fariborz Jobbedar (PhD Student)

Selected Publications:

  1. Al-Husini N, Sharifi A, Mousavi SA, Chitsaz H, Ansari A. Genomewide Analysis of Clp1 Function in Transcription in Budding Yeast. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 31;7(1):6894
  2. Totonchi M, Hassani SN, Sharifi-Zarchi A, Tapia N, Adachi K, Arand J, Greber B, Sabour D, Araúzo-Bravo MJ, Walter J, Pakzad M, Gourabi H, Schöler HR, Baharvand H. Blockage of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition Is Required for Embryonic Stem Cell Derivation. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Oct 10;9(4):1275-1290