Dr Ebrahim Mahmoudi

Dr Ebrahim Mahmoudi

Post Doctoral Research Fellow

School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy

Career Summary


Dr Ebrahim Mahmoudi completed his PhD in Medical Genetics at The University of Newcastle, Australia, in 2019. The focus of his study was to investigate molecular biology of neuronal cells and psychiatric disorders. In particular, he investigated Circular RNA (circRNA) regulation and functional mechanisms in neuronal development and function as well as in schizophrenia disease. The results identified a large number of novel circRNA molecules, many of which were found to be dynamically altered during neural development and in response to neural excitation. Also, circRNA were associated with the pathogenesis of schizophrenia, with a global downregulation was interestingly observed in post mortem brain. The substantial mechanism of circRNA action was through modification of microRNA bioavailability, which results in regulation of miRNA target genes. 

Ebrahim’s highly successful PhD program resulted in several publications in prestigious journals including “Neuropsychopharmacology”, “Cells”, “Molecular Psychiatry” and “Scientific Reports”. His work were also presented as “oral presentation” in well-recognized international and domestic conferences including 46th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience (SFN), 37th Annual Meeting of Australian neuroscience Society (ANS), and 3rd International and 15th Iranian Genetics Congress (GC).

In 2020, Ebrahim had the opportunity to begin a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Molecular Neurobiology Research Group of Professor Murray Cairns, which has allowed him to enhance his research expertise and capabilities. Ebrahim’s current research is focused on two principal areas: (i) circRNA expression and regulatory mechanisms, with an emphasis on their feasibility to serve as biomarkers in psychiatric diseases; and (ii) genome-wide polymorphism of human VNTRs (variable number tandem repeats) in the pathological condition, which aims to identify missing heritability and novel variants that associate with etiology of schizophrenia by taking advantage of whole genome sequencing technology.

Honours and Awards

     - Faculty HDR Publication Award, 2019

    - Poster Presentation Award at BPA conference, Australia, 2016

     - University of Newcastle International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (UNIPRS), 2015

     - University of Newcastle Research Scholarship Central 50:50 (UNRSC 50:50), 2015

    - Ranked 22nd in National Entrance Exam for Master’s degree (Iran), 2009


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Genetics, University of Newcastle
  • , Tarbiat Modares University - Iran


  • Bioinformatics
  • Circular RNA (circRNA)
  • Genomics
  • Medical genetics
  • Molecular neurobiology
  • Next generation sequencing (NGS)
  • RNA biology
  • Regulation of gene expression
  • Schizophrenia


  • English (Fluent)
  • Persian (excluding Dari) (Mother)

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Post Doctoral Research Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Post Doctoral Research Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (7 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Mahmoudi E, Kiltschewskij D, Fitzsimmons C, Cairns MJ, 'Depolarization-Associated CircRNA Regulate Neural Gene Expression and in Some Cases May Function as Templates for Translation', CELLS, 9 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/cells9010025
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Murray Cairns
2020 Khavari B, Mahmoudi E, Geaghan MP, Cairns MJ, 'Oxidative Stress Impact on the Transcriptome of Differentiating Neuroblastoma Cells: Implication for Psychiatric Disorders.', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21 1-17 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/ijms21239182
Co-authors Michael Geaghan, Murray Cairns
2019 Mahmoudi E, Cairns MJ, 'Circular RNAs are temporospatially regulated throughout development and ageing in the rat', SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 9 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-38860-9
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 16
Co-authors Murray Cairns
2019 Mahmoudi E, Fitzsimmons C, Geaghan MP, Shannon Weickert C, Atkins JR, Wang X, Cairns MJ, 'Circular RNA biogenesis is decreased in postmortem cortical gray matter in schizophrenia and may alter the bioavailability of associated miRNA', Neuropsychopharmacology, 44 1043-1054 (2019) [C1]

© 2019, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a covalently closed subclass of non-coding RNA molecules formed by back splicing of linear precur... [more]

© 2019, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a covalently closed subclass of non-coding RNA molecules formed by back splicing of linear precursor RNA. These molecules are relatively stable and particularly abundant in the mammalian brain and therefore may participate in neural development and function. With the emergence of circRNAs activity in gene regulation, these molecules have been implicated in several biological processes, including synaptic plasticity, and we therefore suspect they may have a role in neurobehavioral disorders. Here, we profile cortical circRNAs expression in 35 postmortem cortical gray matter (BA46) schizophrenia and a non-psychiatric comparison group, using circRNA enrichment sequencing. While more than 90,000 circRNAs species were identified in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), we observed lower complexity and substantial depletion in subjects with the disorder. Although circRNAs expression was independent of their host gene transcription, alternative splicing rates were lower in samples from cases compared to controls. Gene set analysis of differentially expressed circRNAs host genes revealed significant enrichment of neural functions and neurological disorders. Many of these depleted circRNAs are also predicted to sequester miRNAs that were shown previously to be increased in the disorder, potentially exacerbating the functional impact of their dysregulation through posttranscriptional gene silencing. While this is the first reported exploration of circRNAs in schizophrenia, there is significant potential for dysregulation more broadly in other major mental illnesses and behavioral disorders. Given their capacity for modulating miRNA function, circRNA may play a significant role in the pathophysiology of disease and even be targeted for therapeutic manipulation.

DOI 10.1038/s41386-019-0348-1
Citations Scopus - 13Web of Science - 14
Co-authors Murray Cairns
2017 Mahmoudi E, Cairns MJ, 'MiR-137: An important player in neural development and neoplastic transformation', Molecular Psychiatry, 22 44-55 (2017) [C1]

© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent an important class of small regulatory RNAs that control gene expre... [more]

© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent an important class of small regulatory RNAs that control gene expression posttranscriptionally by targeting mRNAs for degradation or translation inhibition. Early studies have revealed a complex role for miRNAs in major biological processes such as development, differentiation, growth and metabolism. MiR-137 in particular, has been of great interest due to its critical role in brain function and putative involvement in the etiology of both neuropsychiatric disorders and cancer. Several lines of evidence suggest that development, differentiation and maturation of the nervous system is strongly linked to the expression of miR-137 and its regulation of a large number of downstream target genes in various pathways. Dysregulation of this molecule has also been implicated in major mental illnesses through its position in a variant allele highly associated with schizophrenia in the largest mega genome-wide association studies. Interestingly, miR-137 has also been shown to act as a tumor suppressor, with numerous studies finding reduced expression in neoplasia including brain tumor. Restoration of miR-137 expression has also been shown to inhibit cell proliferation, migration and metastasis, and induce cell cycle arrest, differentiation and apoptosis. These properties of miR-137 propose its potential for prognosis, diagnosis and as a therapeutic target for treatment of several human neurological and neoplastic disorders. In this review, we provide details on the discovery, targets, function, regulation and disease involvement of miR-137 with a broad look at recent discovery in this area.

DOI 10.1038/mp.2016.150
Citations Scopus - 70Web of Science - 67
Co-authors Murray Cairns
2016 Shahabivand S, Maivan HZ, Mahmoudi E, Soltani BM, Sharifi M, Aliloo AA, 'Antioxidant activity and gene expression associated with cadmium toxicity in wheat affected by mycorrhizal fungus', Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, 103 53-60 (2016)
DOI 10.13080/z-a.2016.103.007
2012 Mahmoudi E, 'Independence of color intensity variation in red flesh apples from the number of repeat units in promoter region of the MdMYB10 gene as an allele to MdMYB1 and MdMYBA', Iranian Journal of Biotechnology, (2012)
Show 4 more journal articles

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
Co-authors Murray Cairns

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2020 Masters Pharmacogenomic Analysis of Schizophrenia Patients Using Whole Genome Sequencing M Philosophy (Medical Genetic), College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor

Dr Ebrahim Mahmoudi


Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Prof. M.Cairns' research group
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing

Contact Details

Email ebrahim.mahmoudi@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 8613
Link Twitter


Room MS610
Building Medical Sciences Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308