Iman Azimi

UTAS Home Dr Iman Azimi

Iman Azimi

Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science

Room 4010 , Pharmacy

+61 3 6226 1747 (phone)

Dr Azimi is a cancer cell biologist with extensive experience in drug discovery and development. He is currently a lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science at the Pharmacy, College of Health and Medicine. He conducts research on brain cancer, brain metastasis, and breast cancer. His research spans from the laboratory to the clinic to improve our understanding of cancer biology and to identify putative therapeutics for cancer treatment. He has expertise in cancer hypoxia, calcium signalling, epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity, and high-throughput drug screening.


Dr Azimi obtained his PhD in 2011 from the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He then joined The University of Queensland (UQ) as a postdoctoral fellow. During his time at UQ (2011-2017), he worked on multiple projects of both basic science and industry natures in cancer research. He extensively researched on cancer hypoxia, metastatic-associated processes, and calcium signalling. He also developed high-throughput fluorescent assays for screening of small molecule libraries. Iman joined the University of Tasmania in 2018 to establish his laboratory within the College of Health and Medicine.

Career summary



Lowy Cancer Research Centre

University of New South Wales



Languages (other than English)

Persian (Farsi)


Professional practice

  • Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO)
  • The Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology Oncology Group (ANZCHOG)
  • Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT)
  • The Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

Administrative expertise

  • Managing research lab
  • Unit Coordinator (CSA741 and CSA742 units)
  • Academic Coordinator


Teaching expertise

Pharmaceutical Science, cell and molecular biology, cancer biology, drug discovery

Teaching responsibility

  • CSA741: Basic Laboratory Skills in Pharmaceutical Science and Cell Culture
  • CSA742: Introduction to Analytical and Cell Culture Techniques

Research Invitations

  • Invitations to peer review for leading journals (eg. BBA Molecular Cell Research, Oncotarget, Cancers)
  • International invitations to peer review grants (eg. UK Medical Research Council, and Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission)
  • Invitations to speak at national conferences

View more on Dr Iman Azimi in WARP


  • Brain cancers
  • Brain metastasis
  • Breast cancer
  • Hypoxia
  • Calcium signalling
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity
  • High-throughput assay development
  • High-throughput drug screening

Research Themes

Iman’s research aligns with the University Theme of Better Health.


  • ASCEPT Denis Wade New Investigator Award 2016
  • Oxygen Club of California award for the best oral presentation
  • Tony B. Academic Travel Award from The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening
  • Runner-up in oral presentation at the Annual TRI Symposium at Translational Research Institute
  • British Pharmacological Society (BPS) Bain Memorial Bursary Fund
  • The Contributing to Australian Scholarship and Science (CASS) Foundation Travel Award
  • Society For Free Radical Research Travel Award

Fields of Research

  • Cancer cell biology (321101)
  • Molecular targets (321108)
  • Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (321499)
  • Basic pharmacology (321401)
  • Signal transduction (310111)
  • Biochemistry and cell biology (310199)
  • Cancer therapy (excl. chemotherapy and radiation therapy) (321104)
  • Pharmaceutical sciences (321405)
  • Cellular nervous system (320902)
  • Tumour immunology (320409)
  • Medical genetics (excl. cancer genetics) (320213)
  • Cell neurochemistry (310104)
  • Separation science (340109)
  • Cardiology (incl. cardiovascular diseases) (320101)
  • Clinical sciences (320299)
  • Oncology and carcinogenesis (321199)
  • Haematological tumours (321106)
  • Radiation therapy (321110)
  • Cell physiology (320801)
  • Sport and exercise nutrition (321006)
  • Metabolic medicine (320507)
  • Metal organic frameworks (340207)
  • Nanobiotechnology (310607)
  • Cancer genetics (321103)
  • Gene expression (incl. microarray and other genome-wide approaches) (310505)

Research Objectives

  • Clinical health (200199)
  • Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences (280102)
  • Other health (209999)
  • Expanding knowledge in the health sciences (280112)
  • Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences (280103)
  • Treatment of human diseases and conditions (200105)
  • Expanding knowledge in the chemical sciences (280105)
  • Health related to ageing (200502)
  • Health policy evaluation (200205)
  • Human pharmaceutical products (240899)
  • Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions (200101)


Dr Azimi has published his work in world-leading journals including Advanced Functional Materials, Oncogene (2X), British Journal of Pharmacology, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, Cancers (2X), JBC, Journal of Cell Science, Molecular Oncology. He is first or senior author in 60% of his publications.

Total publications


Journal Article

(29 outputs)
2020Azimi I, Robitaille M, Armitage K, So CL, Milevskiy MJG, et al., 'Activation of the ion channel induces epithelial to mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21, (24) Article 9417. ISSN 1422-0067 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/ijms21249417 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 7


2020Azimi I, Stevenson RJ, Zhang X, Meizoso-Huesca A, Xin P, et al., 'A new selective pharmacological enhancer of the Orai1 Ca2+ channel reveals roles for Orai1 in smooth and skeletal muscle functions', ACS Pharmacology and Translational Sciences, 3, (1) pp. 135-147. ISSN 2575-9108 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/acsptsci.9b00081 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 16Web of Science - 14


2020Feng Z, Sedeeq M, Daniel A, Corban M, Woolley KL, et al., 'Comparative in vitro toxicology of novel cytoprotective short-chain naphthoquinones', Pharmaceuticals, 13, (8) pp. 1-20. ISSN 1424-8247 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/ph13080184 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Feng Z; Sedeeq M; Daniel A; Corban M; Woolley KL; Condie R; Smith JA; Gueven N


2020Gundamaraju R, Lu W, Azimi I, Eri R, Sohal SS, 'Endogenous anti-cancer candidates in GPCR, ER stress, and EMT', Biomedicines, 8, (10) pp. 1-13. ISSN 2227-9059 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/biomedicines8100402 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Lu W; Eri R; Sohal SS


2020Sedeeq M, Maklad A, Guven N, Azimi I, 'Development of a high-throughput agar colony formation assay to identify drug candidates against medulloblastoma', Pharmaceuticals, 13, (11) Article 368. ISSN 1424-8247 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/ph13110368 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Sedeeq M; Maklad A; Guven N


2020Taylor J, Azimi I, Monteith G, 'Ca2+mediates extracellular vesicle biogenesis through alternate pathways in malignancy', Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 9, (1) pp. 1-14. ISSN 2001-3078 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/20013078.2020.1734326 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 23Web of Science - 23


2020Zhang X, Xin P, Yoast RE, Emrich SM, Johnson MT, et al., 'Distinct pharmacological profiles of ORAI1, ORAI2, and ORAI3 channels', Cell Calcium, 91 Article 102281. ISSN 0143-4160 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102281 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 32Web of Science - 32


2019Azimi I, Milevskiy MJG, Chalmers SB, Yapa KTDS, Robitaille M, et al., 'ORAI1 and ORAI3 in breast cancer molecular subtypes and the identification of ORAI3 as a hypoxia sensitive gene and a regulator of hypoxia responses', Cancers, 11, (2) Article 208. ISSN 2072-6694 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/cancers11020208 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 27


2019Maklad AA, Sharma A, Azimi I, 'Calcium signaling in brain cancers: roles and therapeutic targeting', Cancers, 11, (2) Article 145. ISSN 2072-6694 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/cancers11020145 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 27

Co-authors: Maklad AA; Sharma A


2019Stewart TA, Azimi I, Marcial D, Peters AA, Chalmers SB, et al., 'Differential engagement of ORAI1 and TRPC1 in the induction of vimentin expression by different stimuli', Laboratory Investigation, 100 pp. 224-233. ISSN 0023-6837 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41374-019-0280-3 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2018Azimi I, 'The interplay between HIF-1 and calcium signalling in cancer', International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 97 pp. 73-77. ISSN 1357-2725 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.biocel.2018.02.001 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 11


2018Azimi I, Bong AH, Poo GXH, Armitage K, Lok D, et al., 'Pharmacological inhibition of store-operated calcium entry in MDA-MB-468 basal A breast cancer cells: consequences on calcium signalling, cell migration and proliferation', Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 75, (24) pp. 4525-4537. ISSN 1420-682X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-018-2904-y [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 28Web of Science - 49


2018Jamaluddin SYN, Azimi I, Davis FM, Peters AA, Gonda TJ, et al., 'Assessment of CXC ligand 12-mediated calcium signalling and its regulators in basal-like breast cancer cells', Oncology Letters, 15, (4) pp. 4289-4295. ISSN 1792-1074 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3892/ol.2018.7827 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 6


2018Stevenson RJ, Azimi I, Flanagan JU, Inserra M, Vetter I, et al., 'An SAR study of hydroxy-trifluoromethylpyrazolines as inhibitors of Orai1-mediated store operated Ca2+ entry in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells using a convenient Fluorescence Imaging Plate Reader assay', Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 26, (12) pp. 3406-3413. ISSN 0968-0896 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.bmc.2018.05.012 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6


2018Yang Y, Lu Y, Abbaraju PL, Azimi I, Lei C, et al., 'Stepwise Degradable Nanocarriers Enabled Cascade Delivery for Synergistic Cancer Therapy', Advanced Functional Materials ISSN 1616-301X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201800706 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 64Web of Science - 62


2017Azimi I, Flanagan JU, Stevenson RJ, Inserra M, Vetter I, et al., 'Evaluation of known and novel inhibitors of Orai1-mediated store operated Ca2+ entry in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells using a fluorescence imaging plate reader assay', Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 25, (1) pp. 440-449. ISSN 0968-0896 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.bmc.2016.11.007 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 15


2017Azimi I, Milevskiy MJG, Kaemmerer E, Turner D, Yapa KTDS, et al., 'TRPC1 is a differential regulator of hypoxia-mediated events and Akt signalling in PTEN-deficient breast cancer cells', Journal of Cell Science, 130, (14) pp. 2292-2305. ISSN 0021-9533 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1242/jcs.196659 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 52Web of Science - 54


2017Azimi I, Petersen RM, Thompson EW, Roberts-Thomson SJ, Monteith GR, 'Hypoxia-induced reactive oxygen species mediate N-cadherin and SERPINE1 expression, EGFR signalling and motility in MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells', Scientific reports, 7, (1) Article 15140. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15474-7 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 68Web of Science - 69


2017Peters AA, Jamaludin SYN, Yapa KTDS, Chalmers S, Wiegmans AP, et al., 'Oncosis and apoptosis induction by activation of an overexpressed ion channel in breast cancer cells', Oncogene, 36, (46) pp. 6490-6500. ISSN 0950-9232 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/onc.2017.234 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 50Web of Science - 46


2016Azimi I, Beilby H, Davis FM, Marcial DL, Kenny PA, et al., 'Altered purinergic receptor-Ca2+ signaling associated with hypoxia-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells', Molecular oncology, 10, (1) pp. 166-178. ISSN 1574-7891 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.molonc.2015.09.006 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 55Web of Science - 55


2016Azimi I, Monteith GR, 'Plasma membrane ion channels and epithelial to mesenchymal transition in cancer cells', Endocrine-related cancer, 23, (11) pp. R517-R525. ISSN 1351-0088 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1530/ERC-16-0334 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 27Web of Science - 25


2016Stewart TA, Azimi I, Brooks AJ, Thompson EW, Roberts-Thomson SJ, et al., 'Janus kinases and Src family kinases in the regulation of EGF-induced vimentin expression in MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells', The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology, 76 pp. 64-74. ISSN 1357-2725 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.biocel.2016.05.007 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8


2015Stewart TA, Azimi I, Thompson EW, Roberts-Thomson SJ, Monteith GR, 'A role for calcium in the regulation of ATP-binding cassette, sub-family C, member 3 (ABCC3) gene expression in a model of epidermal growth factor-mediated breast cancer epithelial-mesenchymal transition', Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 458, (3) pp. 509-514. ISSN 0006-291X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.01.141 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 23Web of Science - 21


2014Azimi I, Roberts-Thomson SJ, Monteith GR, 'Calcium influx pathways in breast cancer: opportunities for pharmacological intervention', British Journal of Pharmacology, 171, (4) pp. 945-60. ISSN 0007-1188 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/bph.12486 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 99Web of Science - 99


2014Davis FM, Azimi I, Faville RA, Peters AA, Jalink K, et al., 'Induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer cells is calcium signal dependent', Oncogene, 33, (18) pp. 2307-2316. ISSN 0950-9232 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/onc.2013.187 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 232Web of Science - 219


2013Ross DGF, Smart CE, Azimi I, Roberts-Thomson SJ, Monteith GR, 'Assessment of ORAI1-mediated basal calcium influx in mammary epithelial cells', Bmc Cell Biology, 14 pp. 57. ISSN 1471-2121 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2121-14-57 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 14


2011Azimi I, Wong JW, Hogg PJ, 'Control of mature protein function by allosteric disulfide bonds', Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, 14, (1) pp. 113-126. ISSN 1523-0864 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1089/ars.2010.3620 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 35Web of Science - 32


2010Azimi I, Matthias LJ, Center RJ, Wong JW, Hogg PJ, 'Disulfide bond that constrains the HIV-1 gp120 V3 domain is cleaved by thioredoxin', Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285, (51) pp. 40072-40080. ISSN 0021-9258 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.185371 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 27Web of Science - 28


2010Matthias LJ, Azimi I, Tabrett CA, Hogg PJ, 'Reduced monomeric CD4 is the preferred receptor for HIV', Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285, (52) pp. 40793-40799. ISSN 0021-9258 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.190579 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 27Web of Science - 28



(2 outputs)
2020Kiaie SH, Sanaei MJ, Heshmati M, Asadzadeh Z, Azimi I, et al., 'Immune checkpoints in targeted-immunotherapy of pancreatic cancer: new hope for clinical development', Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B ISSN 2211-3835 (2020) [Substantial Review]

DOI: 10.1016/j.apsb.2020.12.011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 2


2020Mohammadinejad R, Biagioni A, Arunkumar G, Shapiro R, Chang KC, et al., 'EMT signaling: potential contribution of CRISPR/Cas gene editing', Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences ISSN 1420-682X (2020) [Substantial Review]

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-020-03449-3 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 17

Co-authors: Sedeeq M


Grants & Funding

  • 2016: ASCEPT Denis Wade Johnson & Johnson New Investigator Award 2016
  • 2015: Oxygen Club of California Award
  • 2015: British Pharmacological Society (BPS) Brain Memorial Bursary Fund
  • 2014: The University of Queensland Research Start-Up Fund ($11,371). Title:  “Hypoxia-induced reactive oxygen species and calcium signalling in breast cancer cells”.
  • 2013: Tony B. Academic Travel Award, Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening, USA
  • 2011: EPSCA Scholarship, by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Novotech consultancy (2021 - 2022)$5,584
Novotech is a research organisation engaged in the business of providing clinical trial, contract clinical, and other related services. As a consultant, I will be providing consultancy for Novotech Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for the clinical trials, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Novotech Australia Pty Ltd ($5,584)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Azimi I
2021 - 2022
Repurposing of FDA approved drugs against medulloblastoma (2021)$14,828
In this proposal we aim to utilise our novel established agar assay to screen a unique library of 320 structurally diverse small molecule drugs that are currently clinically used for central nervous system (CNS) diseases, for their effect on the growth of medulloblastoma brain cancer cell lines. Drugs already in clinical use provide a considerable opportunity to rapidly re-purpose drugs for MB. Furthermore, this custom library only contains drugs that are in use for CNS diseases and are therefore BBB-permeable, a feature that is crucial for brain cancer.
Cancer Council of Tasmania ($14,828)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Azimi I; Guven N
Identification of novel therapeutic targets for paediatric medulloblastoma (2020 - 2021)$39,943
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant childhood brain tumour. MB is classified into 4 genetically distinct subgroups: WNT, SHH, Group 3 and Group 4. Children with Group 3 and 4 MB (accounting for >60% of all MBs) show high incidence of metastasis and poor survival rates; ~40% of them die of cancer. Due to the harsh nature of current treatments (surgery, radio/chemotherapy), children who survive the cancer often show severely impaired physical and cognitive function. There is therefore a clear need for new treatment options for these aggressive MBs. This project will characterise the specific roles our identified potentially important proteins in the progression of MB. It will further aim to assess the targeting of these proteins as a novel potential approach for further MB therapy.
Royal Hobart Hospital ($39,943)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Azimi I
2020 - 2021
Identifying shared mechanisms in response to radiotherapy (2020)$18,980
Radiotherapy remains one of the most frequently utilised therapies in cancer treatment today. However, despite the frequency of its use, many patients experience treatment resistance and disease recurrence. It is therefore essential to identify predictive markers of response that would enable patients unlikely to benefit from radiotherapy to be identified and spared an ineffective treatment and its associated side effects. This project will use an in vitro model to identify shared drivers of resistance and potential predictive biomarkers between cancers originating from different sites (prostate vs brain). It will involve RNA-seq, proteomics profiling and analysis of 3D spheroids in response to radiotherapy.
Cancer Council of Tasmania ($18,980)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Brettingham-Moore KH; Azimi I; Wilson RR
Characterisation and targeting of Lin28 for the control of paediatric medulloblastoma (2019)$25,000
Children with high-risk medulloblastoma (MD) have a poor prognosis and there are currently very few treatment options available including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Due to the harsh nature of these treatments, children who survive the cancer often show severely impaired physical, cognitive, social and emotional function for the rest of their lives. There is therefore a clear need for new treatment options for high-risk MD. This project, supported by preliminary data, aims to understand the role of both Lin28 proteins in the promotion of aggressive paediatric MD, which are associated with high metastasis rates, poor prognosis and limited treatment options. This research aims to directly address the potential of targeting Lin28 to control MD. If findings generated in this study validate Lin28 as a novel target for MD, we aim to translate the results in future studies to impact MD therapy.
Brain Foundation ($25,000)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Azimi I
A novel tool to enhance Orai1 (2019)$100
We have identified the first-known specific enhancer of the Orai1 protein, named IA65. Orai1 has critical roles in diverse physiological contexts such as lactation, male fertility, skin function, growth of skeletal muscle, prevention of fatigue, and 1 of 5 nerve formation. An activator of this crucial protein would be highly beneficial in several applications.
CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation ($100)
Scholarship-ON Prime
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Azimi I; Sedeeq M
Targeting Lin28 for the control of the most aggressive subgroups of medulloblastoma (2018)$24,938
University of Tasmania ($24,938)
Grant- Research Enhancement Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Azimi I; Guven N; Dickinson JL

Research Supervision

Iman currently supervises PhD students, two as primary supervisor and two as co-supervisor. He also supervises multiple Master’s students.




PhDIdentification and Characterisation of Novel Therapeutic Targets for the Control of Brain Cancers2019
PhDCellular and Molecular Events in Progression of Medulloblastoma2019
PhDUnderstanding the role of rare Homer mutations in synaptogenesis2020
PhDIdentification of the Cyto-protective Mode of Action of Short Chain Quinones (SCQ's)2020
PhDBiological and Chemical Characterisation of a Novel Small Molecule Orai1 Enhancer with Potential Diverse Clinical Applications2021