Areas of Expertise
Biological Sciences
Arts & Sciences
Start Year at LSUS
Terminal Degree/Yr
Office Location
Science Building, Room 312


•2015-presentProfessor of Biochemistry, LSUS, Shreveport, LA.
•2009-2015Associate Professor of Biochemistry, LSUS, Shreveport, LA.
•2003-2009Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, LSUS, Shreveport, LA.
•1999-2003Assistant Professor of Chemistry, SCSU, Orangeburg, SC.
Professional Memberships & Contributions
• 2005-Present Member, American Chemical Society (ACS)
• 2007-2013 Member, American Association of Cancer Research (AACR)
• 2009-Present Member, LSUS Health Sciences Advisory Committee (HSAC)
• 2015-Present Chair, Northwest Louisiana Section of ACS (NWLA-ACS)
• 2010-present Advisor, Chemistry Club, LSUS
• 2020-present Advisor, Science Matters, LSUS


Research Interests

My scholarly activities focus on the following two collaborative, student-centered and interdisciplinary research programs:
Cancer Research Program: This is an interdisciplinary research program spanning the interfaces of chemical synthesis, medicinal chemistry, and cancer biology fields. It is centered on a compound known as fusarochromanone (FC101), an anti-cancer agent with unique structure and function. FC101 is a cancer-specific cytotoxic agent that exhibits 10-100 times the effects against cancer cells vs. normal cells of the same type. This selectivity is the result of differential uptake by cancer cells and increased toxicity against them. FC101 significantly inhibits proliferation/migration and induces apoptosis in cultured human cancer cells. The more invasive cancer cells, particularly the oncogenic BRAF mutant- MAPK driven cancer (e.g. melanoma, bladder, pancreatic, and TNBC), are more sensitive to the anti-cancer effect of FC101. The total synthesis of FC101 in its enantiomerically pure form was accomplished using a seven-step reaction scheme in 2014. This allowed for further investigation of its therapeutic potential and provided new opportunities to modify the molecule for lead optimization and analysis of quantitative structure activity relationships (QSAR). While FC101’s exact mechanism of action is currently unknown, we have shown that it simultaneously inhibits the activity of two major oncogenic pathways, MAPK (corresponding to p-ERK reduction) and mTOR (corresponding to p-S6K, and p-S6 reduction) in cultured cancer cells. The current FC101 research focuses on: I. lead-optimization/SAR through synthesis and biological evaluation of key structural analogs; II. Computational and in-vitro drug screens to develop the phenotypic drug response/sensitivity profiles; III. Mechanistic understanding of how FC101 induces apoptosis and inhibits proliferation/migration in TNBC. Knowledge from computational, in-vitro, and mechanistic studies reveals FC101’s molecular mechanism of action and ensures progress towards the pre-clinical stage of this research involving animal models of cancer. 

Computer Aided Drug Discovery (CADD) Program:
This is a new interdisciplinary research/pedagogy program within the Departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences involving CADD methodology. This approach has been incorporated into several cancer projects and new research units on antiviral therapeutics for COVID-19, practicing highly relevant science during the pandemic. Virtual screening methods, the search for bioactive compounds via computational tools, provide shortcuts and a wide range of opportunities to speed up drug discovery, while reducing the associated financial and attrition risks. The CADD methodology has also been integrated into a research-based online course, merging guided research with interactive classroom instructions. The course enables students to use research-based methods and employ active learning with publicly available bioinformatics/structural biology data and modern computational modeling tools to identify promising anti-viral drugs for COVID-19. The inspiration for this online course is four-fold: (1) The importance of teaching science as science is practiced, merging guided research with course-based instruction to broaden student participation in research. (2) The recognition that interdisciplinary research skills in applied bioinformatics, computational modeling, and structural biology are indispensable to a student's scientific education (3) The significant negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on public health and hence the emergent unmet need for new antiviral drugs. (4) Instructional shifts in response to COVID-19 pandemic and its impact upon the classroom-based student research experience. The CADD course, which has now been successfully implemented four times since summer 2020, combines three modules: lectures/discussions including live demos, inquiry-based assignments, and science communication.

Selected Publications

1. Mahdavian E, Spencer HT, Dunlap RB. Kinetic Studies on Drug Resistant Variants of Escherichia coli Thymidylate Synthase: Functional Effects of Amino Acid Substitutions at Residue 4. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1999; 368(2):257-64. PMID: 10441376.
2. Phan J, Mahdavian E, Nivens MC, Minor W, Berger S, Spencer HT. Catalytic Cysteine of Thymidylate Synthase is Activated Upon Substrate Binding. Biochemistry. 2000; 39(23):6969-78. PMID: 10841779.
3. Tomic-Vatic A, Eytina J, Chapman J, Mahdavian E, Neuzil J, Salvatore BA. Vitamin E amides, a new class of vitamin E analogues with enhanced pro-apoptotic activity. Int J Cancer. 2005; 117(2):188-93. PMID: 15900584.
4. Mahdavian E, Sangsura S, Landry G, Eytina J, Salvatore BA. A Novel Synthesis of Tocopheryl Amines and Amides. Tetrahedron Letters. 2009; 50:19-21.
5. Turánek J, Wang XF, Knötigová P, Koudelka, S, Mahdavian E, Procházka L, Sangsura S, Vacek A, Salvatore BA, Neuzil J. Liposomal formulation of vitamin E analogs as an efficient and selective anti-cancer treatment” Applied Toxicology and Pharmacology, 2009; 237.
6. Dong LF, Jameson VJ, Tilley D, Prochazka L, Rohlena J, Valis K, Truksa J, Zobalova R, Mahdavian E, et al. Mitochondrial Targeting of a-Tocopheryl Succinate Enhances Its Proapoptotic and Anti-cancer Efficacy. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011; 50(11):1546-55. PMID: 21402148.
7.Dong L, Jameson VJ, Tilly D, Cerny J, Mahdavian E, Marín-Hernández A, et al.Mitochondrial Targeting of Vitamin E Succinate Enhances Transmission of its Activity viaMitochondrial Complex II. J Biol Chem. 2011; 286(5):3717-28. PMID: 21059645.
8.Ying G, Chen X, Chang C, Singh K, Barzegar M, Mahdavian E, et al. “FusarochromanoneInduces G1 Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis in COS7 and HEK293 Cells. PLOS ONE.
2014; 10(9):11. PMID: 25384025, PMCID: PMC4226581.
9.Mahdavian E, Williams-Hart T, Furmanski B, Kevil C, Gopi K, Yoon-Jee K, et al. “BiologicalActivities of Fusarochromanone: A Potent Anti-Cancer Agent”. BMC Research Notes. 2014;7:601. PMID: 25187308, PMCID: PMC4168212.
10.Mahdavian E, Marshall M, Martin P, Cagle P, Salvatore BA, Quick Q. “CaspaseDependent Signaling Underlies Glioblastoma Cell Death in Response to the FungalMetabolite, Fusarochromanone”. Int J Mol Med. 2014; 34(3):880-5. PMID: 25016928,PMCID: PMC4121350.
11.Wynne M, Salvatore BA, Mahdavian E. Use of In-silico Assays for ADMET and TargetProfiling of Fusarochromanone. Journal of In-silico Pharmacology. 2015; 3(6). PMCID:PMC4464579.
12.Hasanain, G., Mahdavian E, et al. “Development and characterization of folic acid-functionalized apoferritin as a delivery vehicle for epirubicin against MCF-7 breast cancercells”, ARTIFICIAL CELLS, NANOMEDICINE, AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, 2018; 46, 847-854.
13.Hashempour, S., Mahdavian E, et al. “Binding Studies of AICAR and Human SerumAlbumin by Spectroscopic, Theoretical, and Computational Methods” Molecules, 2020;25(22).
14.Kashanian, S., Mahdavian E, et al. “Novel dual targeting system based on cSLNs andmodified apoferritin to simultaneously deliver doxorubicin and mitoxantrone anticancerdrugs” Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2021; 26(6).
15.Burford, N.; Smith, A.; Salvatore, B.; Mahdavian, E.; “Combination Therapies for TNBC:EGFR inhibitors and Fusarochromanone”. Journal of BMC Cancer, 2021. In Revision.
16.Mackay, R.; Weinberger, P.; Copland, J.; Mahdavian, E.; Xu, Q.; “YM155 induces DNAdamage and cell death in anaplastic thyroid cancer cells by inhibiting DNA topoisomeraseIIα”.
Molecular Oncology (ID: MOLONC-21-0535). 2021. Submitted.
17. Salvatore, B., Mahdavian, E., “Phenotypic Investigations of Combination Therapeutics for Metastatic Cancer”. Mini Review, BMC Medicine. 2021. In Prep.

List of published work in NCBI- My Bibliography
Google Scholar Website:

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