University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Hani Goodarzi, PhD

Hani Goodarzi, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biophysics & Biochemistry, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Genetics

Research Summary

Cancer, fundamentally, is a disease of disordered gene expression. Cancer cells rely on deregulated expression of oncogenic and tumor suppressive pathways to initiate and maintain the transformation process. Thus, delineating how cancer cells achieve such pathologic gene expression states is a crucial step towards understanding and ultimately treating cancer as a disease. Towards achieving this goal, my laboratory employs a systems biological and multidisciplinary approach that integrates computational and experimental strategies to identify and characterize key regulatory programs that underlie cancer progression. The systems-level frameworks implemented in our lab ensure a truly unbiased and systematic approach to studying this key biological challenge. Such bottom-up and agnostic approaches are crucial for discovering pathways that fall outside of our prior knowledge of regulatory interactions and would otherwise remain hidden in a top-down reductionist framework.

Lab website:


University of Tehran, B.S., 2006, Biotechnology
Princeton University, Ph.D., 2010, Molecular Biology
Princeton University, Postdoctoral Associate, 2012, Systems Biology
Rockefeller University, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016, Cancer Systems Biology

Professional Experience

  • 2010-2012
    Postdoctoral Associate: Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ; Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • 2012-2016
    Postdoctoral Fellow: Laboratory of cancer systems biology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY
  • 2016-present
    Assistant Professor: Department of Biophysics & Biochemistry, Department of Urology, Helen Diller Cancer Center, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 2017
    2017 AAAS Martin and Rose Wachtel Cancer Research Award
  • 2015
    Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists
  • 2015
    NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award
  • 2015
    Tri-Institutional Breakout Prize for Junior Investigators
  • 2014
    Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (T32CA009673)
  • 2014
    RUCCTS/CDDS/SCBN Pilot Project Award
  • 2012
    Anderson Cancer Center Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rockefeller University
  • 2006
    William G. Bowen Merit Fellowship
  • 2005
    Top undergraduate student in the Department of Biotechnology (University of Tehran)
  • 2002
    University of Tehran fellowship for IBO medalists
  • 2002
    Silver medal in the 13th International Biology Olympiad in Riga, Latvia
  • 2001
    Gold medal in the 4th National Biology Olympiad in Tehran, Iran
  • 2001
    Member, Young Scholar’s Club (Tehran, Iran)

Selected Publications

  1. Modulated Expression of Specific tRNAs Drives Gene Expression and Cancer Progression. Goodarzi H, Nguyen HC, Zhang S, Dill BD, Molina H, Tavazoie SF. Cell. 2016; 165(6):1416-27. PMID: 27259150
  2. Highly variable cancer subpopulations that exhibit enhanced transcriptome variability and metastatic fitness. Nguyen A, Yoshida M, Goodarzi H, Tavazoie SF. Nature communications. 2016; 7:11246. PMID: 27138336 PMCID: PMC4857405
  3. PAPERCLIP Identifies MicroRNA Targets and a Role of CstF64/64tau in Promoting Non-canonical poly(A) Site Usage. Hwang HW, Park CY, Goodarzi H, Fak JJ, Mele A, Moore MJ, Saito Y, Darnell RB. Cell reports. 2016; 15(2):423-35. NIHMSID: NIHMS767873 PMID: 27050522 PMCID: PMC4832608
  4. Muscleblind-like 1 suppresses breast cancer metastatic colonization and stabilizes metastasis suppressor transcripts. Fish L, Pencheva N, Goodarzi H, Tran H, Yoshida M, Tavazoie SF. Genes & development. 2016; 30(4):386-98. PMID: 26883358 PMCID: PMC4762424
  5. HNRNPA2B1 Is a Mediator of m(6)A-Dependent Nuclear RNA Processing Events. Alarcón CR, Goodarzi H, Lee H, Liu X, Tavazoie S, Tavazoie SF. Cell. 2015; 162(6):1299-308. NIHMSID: NIHMS738681 PMID: 26321680 PMCID: PMC4673968
  6. Mechanosensitive pannexin-1 channels mediate microvascular metastatic cell survival. Furlow PW, Zhang S, Soong TD, Halberg N, Goodarzi H, Mangrum C, Wu YG, Elemento O, Tavazoie SF. Nature cell biology. 2015; 17(7):943-52. PMID: 26098574
  7. Endogenous tRNA-Derived Fragments Suppress Breast Cancer Progression via YBX1 Displacement. Goodarzi H, Liu X, Nguyen HC, Zhang S, Fish L, Tavazoie SF. Cell. 2015; 161(4):790-802. NIHMSID: NIHMS694626 PMID: 25957686 PMCID: PMC4457382
  8. N6-methyladenosine marks primary microRNAs for processing. Alarcón CR, Lee H, Goodarzi H, Halberg N, Tavazoie SF. Nature. 2015; 519(7544):482-5. NIHMSID: NIHMS695548 PMID: 25799998 PMCID: PMC4475635
  9. Metastasis-suppressor transcript destabilization through TARBP2 binding of mRNA hairpins. Goodarzi H, Zhang S, Buss CG, Fish L, Tavazoie S, Tavazoie SF. Nature. 2014; 513(7517):256-60. NIHMSID: NIHMS688593 PMID: 25043050 PMCID: PMC4440807
  10. Systematic identification of regulatory elements in conserved 3' UTRs of human transcripts. Oikonomou P, Goodarzi H, Tavazoie S. Cell reports. 2014; 7(1):281-92. NIHMSID: NIHMS573688 PMID: 24656821 PMCID: PMC4430845
  11. Revealing the genetic basis of natural bacterial phenotypic divergence. Freddolino PL, Goodarzi H, Tavazoie S. Journal of bacteriology. 2014; 196(4):825-39. PMID: 24317396 PMCID: PMC3911184
  12. TARBP2 binding structured RNA elements drives metastasis. Goodarzi H, Tavazoie SF, Tavazoie S. Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.). 2014; 13(18):2799-800. PMID: 25486461 PMCID: PMC4612561
  13. A neurodegeneration-specific gene-expression signature of acutely isolated microglia from an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mouse model. Chiu IM, Morimoto ET, Goodarzi H, Liao JT, O'Keeffe S, Phatnani HP, Muratet M, Carroll MC, Levy S, Tavazoie S, Myers RM, Maniatis T. Cell reports. 2013; 4(2):385-401. NIHMSID: NIHMS499259 PMID: 23850290 PMCID: PMC4272581
  14. Fitness landscape transformation through a single amino acid change in the rho terminator. Freddolino PL, Goodarzi H, Tavazoie S. PLoS genetics. 2012; 8(5):e1002744. PMID: 22693458 PMCID: PMC3364947
  15. Systematic discovery of structural elements governing stability of mammalian messenger RNAs. Goodarzi H, Najafabadi HS, Oikonomou P, Greco TM, Fish L, Salavati R, Cristea IM, Tavazoie S. Nature. 2012; 485(7397):264-8. NIHMSID: NIHMS361224 PMID: 22495308 PMCID: PMC3350620
  16. Direct targeting of Sec23a by miR-200s influences cancer cell secretome and promotes metastatic colonization. Korpal M, Ell BJ, Buffa FM, Ibrahim T, Blanco MA, Celià-Terrassa T, Mercatali L, Khan Z, Goodarzi H, Hua Y, Wei Y, Hu G, Garcia BA, Ragoussis J, Amadori D, Harris AL, Kang Y. Nature medicine. 2011; 17(9):1101-8. NIHMSID: NIHMS297794 PMID: 21822286 PMCID: PMC3169707
  17. Regulatory and metabolic rewiring during laboratory evolution of ethanol tolerance in E. coli. Goodarzi H, Bennett BD, Amini S, Reaves ML, Hottes AK, Rabinowitz JD, Tavazoie S. Molecular systems biology. 2010; 6:378. PMID: 20531407 PMCID: PMC2913397
  18. Revealing global regulatory perturbations across human cancers. Goodarzi H, Elemento O, Tavazoie S. Molecular cell. 2009; 36(5):900-11. NIHMSID: NIHMS214339 PMID: 20005852 PMCID: PMC2900319
  19. Universal function-specificity of codon usage. Najafabadi HS, Goodarzi H, Salavati R. Nucleic acids research. 2009; 37(21):7014-23. PMID: 19773421 PMCID: PMC2790905
  20. Global discovery of adaptive mutations. Goodarzi H, Hottes AK, Tavazoie S. Nature methods. 2009; 6(8):581-3. NIHMSID: NIHMS126699 PMID: 19597501 PMCID: PMC2762608
  21. Genetic dissection of an exogenously induced biofilm in laboratory and clinical isolates of E. coli. Amini S, Goodarzi H, Tavazoie S. PLoS pathogens. 2009; 5(5):e1000432. PMID: 19436718 PMCID: PMC2675270
  22. Amino acid and codon usage profiles: adaptive changes in the frequency of amino acids and codons. Goodarzi H, Torabi N, Najafabadi HS, Archetti M. Gene. 2008; 407(1-2):30-41. PMID: 17977670
  23. Solvent accessibility, residue charge and residue volume, the three ingredients of a robust amino acid substitution matrix. Goodarzi H, Katanforoush A, Torabi N, Najafabadi HS. Journal of theoretical biology. 2007; 245(4):715-25. PMID: 17240399
  24. The case for an error minimizing set of coding amino acids. Torabi N, Goodarzi H, Shateri Najafabadi H. Journal of theoretical biology. 2007; 244(4):737-44. PMID: 17069856
  25. Intragenic SNP haplotypes associated with 84dup18 mutation in TNFRSF11A in four FEO pedigrees suggest three independent origins for this mutation. Elahi E, Shafaghati Y, Asadi S, Absalan F, Goodarzi H, Gharaii N, Karimi-Nejad MH, Shahram F, Hughes AE. Journal of bone and mineral metabolism. 2007; 25(3):159-64. PMID: 17447113