Professor Safa received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Esfahan (Iran) in 1973. He received his M.S. in General Biology in 1976, a M.S. in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) in 1977, and a Ph.D. in MCDB in 1980 from Iowa State University. He joined the University of Louisville as a Postdoctoral Fellow from 1980-1983, and subsequently was a Visiting Fellow and a guest researcher at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 1983-1987.
In 1987, he accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago and was Director of the Laboratories of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics, and Molecular Pharmacology, respectively in the Section of Hematology/Oncology from 1990-1996. In 1996, he accepted a tenured Associate Professor position in the Department of Experimental Oncology, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and was promoted to tenured Professor in 1999. Dr. Safa was Director of the Drug Resistance Program at Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC from 1998-1999. In 1999, he joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine as H.H. Gregg Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Safa is also Director of the Graduate Program in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.
Dr. Safa has been investigating the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of intrinsic and acquired resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs and apoptosis in cancer cells. His lab is particularly interested in targeted therapy of lung, ovarian and breast cancer through modulating the death receptor signaling pathway of apoptosis.
Dr. Safa served on the Experimental Therapeutics 1 Study Section at the NCI from 1988-2002, has been an ad hoc grant reviewer for the Center for Scientific Review, Drug Discovery and Molecular Pharmacology Study Section since 2003, and for the Department of Defense (DOD) since 2007. He is a member of the editorial boards of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and Current Molecular Pharmacology.