INSPIRED BY EXCELLENCE & INNOVATION
Over the past 25 years, as an educator and scientist, my goal has been to inspire my students, family, friends and my community to live healthy lives. I truly believe that scientific work should not stop in the lab and only appear in scientific publications. As a scientist and a professor in the largest public university system in the world, University of California, I feel responsible to share facts and to separate them from hypes.
MAHTAB – The Mentor
“I fell in love with teaching in elementary school when my science teacher asked me to tutor my classmates but the real epiphany happened in my undergraduate years when I worked as a tutor.”
I feel privileged to have a career that allows me to interact with young minds, to learn from them, and to be inspired by them.
I grew up in a family with supportive parents and grandparents who taught me at a very young age the value of education, service, giving back to the community, and the importance of equality of the sexes. They also raised me to be independent, outspoken, and to strive to have a purposeful life. I was born in Iran and lived there until I was about 15 years old. As a young woman, I witnessed a revolution and the cruelties of war, and developed a strong sense of social justice and helping people in need. One day, my parents told me to pack one suitcase.
We immigrated to France where I completed high school while learning French. In a TEDx talk titled “what if” I have shared a glimpse of how it felt to start high school in France without speaking the language. Adopting a joie de vivre mentality was easy because I fell in love with the French culture, food and style of living.
I graduated from Lycee Masena and registered at the College of Pharmacy at the Chatney University in Paris…
JAFARI – The Scientist
“I shifted the focus of my research from the diseases of aging to slowing the aging process itself and towards improving Healthspan, which is defined as the duration of life that is free of debilitating chronic diseases.”
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of California, Irvine
I received my doctorate in Pharmacy, Pharm.D., from UCSF in 1994 and subsequently completed a residency in pharmacy practice at UCSF. I am currently Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCI.
The focus of my current research program is on slowing the aging process through a science that I introduced as Healthspan Pharmacology. Using human cultured cells, fruit flies, and mice I study the impact of botanical extracts and dietary supplements on aging. My ultimate goal is to slow the aging process and add healthy years to human life. I developed this research program through an evolutionary process that took me almost 25 years.
My research career has evolved in 3 phases of development that have provided the foundation to effectively pursue this overarching research goal:
- Phase 1. 1994-2001: Academic Clinical Research at UCSF School of Pharmacy, Western University College of Pharmacy, and UCI School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
- Phase 2. 2001-2005: Translational and Clinical Pharmaceutical Industry Research) at Abbott Laboratories
- Phase 3. 2005-present: Academic Basic Science Research and Educational Research at UCI
Stress levels in college students are increasing at an alarmingly fast pace.
To combat this rising tide, universities need effective tools to promote student’s well-being and help them to recognize and manage their stress. One approach is to teach students basic lifestyle skills to cope with stress and achieve wellness. This is important as it not only increases students’ retention within a chosen field of study, but assists them to achieve personal and academic success.
To inspire our undergraduate students to adopt healthy lifestyle choices, I developed a once-weekly course titled “Life101” with topics that focused on students’ wellness such as stress management, nutrition, exercise, emotional intelligence, and financial management. I teach the course through a combination of lectures, multimedia videos, and discussions. In a recent publication titled, “Life101 Enhances Healthy Lifestyle Choices in Pre-Health Undergraduate Students”, I reported that that Life101 had a significant positive impact on the lifestyle of our undergraduate students. I strongly believe that offering Life101 to undergraduate students can serve to improve their mental and physical health.
The main outcomes from this study were:
Both in-class and online courses resulted in positive lifestyle changes in our students.
Online students showed greater mastery of course topics compared to their in-class peers.
Long-term benefits from the course were reported after a one-year follow-up.
Although, this collective positive impact may suggest that offering Life101 to undergraduate students can serve to improve students’ mental and physical health, a prospective study is needed to confirm these findings.
A Book About Dietary Supplements
By Dr. Mahtab Jafari
In this book, Dr. Mahtab Jafari examines the Dietary Supplement industry and its regulation (or lack thereof), the marketing practices, the gap in science, and the safety issues associated with the supplements. She also makes recommendations on how to select the right dietary supplement(s) and how to monitor them to assure safety.
Reach For The Moon and Land On It
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