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Hassan Ashktorab


  • Medicine
  • College of Medicine

Education & Expertise


Medical Technology

Shiraz University


Molecular Biology
Utah State University


Cancer Biology
University Of Florida

Utah State University


Gastrointestinal carcinogenesis

Dr. Hassan Ashktorab is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine. He serves or has served as a member of the gastrointestinal working group in the Howard University Cancer Center, executive member of The Howard University Cancer Center, Adjunct  Professor at The Department of Genetics and Human Genetics and the Director of Microarray facility at Howard University and former Chair of College of Medicine Research Committee. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of PLoS One, Digestive Diseases, and Science, World Journal of Gastroenterology and Gouvaresh, and former Editorial Board member of Gut. He has been awarded several NIH grants including RO3, RO1, and DOD grants. He received the HU-COM Outstanding Researcher Award in 2011. He received the HU-COM Outstanding Researcher Award in 2011. He has been a member of different NIH study sections since 2005. Dr. Ashktorab received a guest professor appointment from Jiangsu, China in 2015. He has published more than 175 peer review articles and has been invited to many GI special conferences as the keynote speaker. He has been a member of different NIH study sections since 2005. Dr. Ashktorab’s group focus is on epigenetics, genetics, microbiome, and epidemiology of gastrointestinal cancers especially colorectal cancer.

Gut Microbiome and colon carcinogenesis

A new line of research was recently developed in the context of the role that the gut microbiota might play in the initiation and progression of colon neoplasia. Several publications have pointed to the potential roles of specific bacteria in triggering genetic and epigenetic events such as those described in colon carcinogenesis. The primary goal of this line of research is to define specific bacteria that associate with a higher risk of neoplasia. This will likely offer the opportunity to intervene at the gut microbiota’s level to reduce the risk of colon carcinogenesis. 

Natural Nutritional Supplement in IBD patients

Despite available effective drugs used to treat IBD, many patients fail or lose response over time with some displaying drug-induced adverse events. Saffron (Crocus sativus), has been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties. Its protective role in IBD has not been explored extensively.Our aim is to establish whether saffron treatment alleviates inflammation in experimental colitis and clinical trials.We have demonstrated saffron’s therapeutic potential and its protective role in part via Ahr/Nrf-2 pathways and regulatory innate and adaptive immune cells. we are now in the clinical trial phase to the improvement of outcome in mild-moderate colitis using saffron as a nutritional supplement.