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Ashkan Emadi, MD, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):


Administrative Title:

Associate Director for Clinical Research

Additional Title:

Associate Director for Clinical Research, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC), & Director of Translational Genomics Laboratory, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM)



Phone (Primary):

(410) 328-6841


(410) 328-2578

Education and Training

M.D., Tehran University of Medical Sciences

Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL

Intern, Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Resident, Internal medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Fellowship, Hematology / Medical Oncology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD


Dr. Emadi is a hematologist/medical oncologist and an organic chemist; he is a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Marlene & Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC). He has served as a medical officer at the Division of Hematology Products (DHP), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As an organic chemist, Dr. Emadi's breakthrough invention of using hydroxyquinone anion as active methylene to form a chemical bond between two SP2 carbons in quinone systems accelerated high yield synthesis of anti-neoplastic and anti-microbial medicinal compounds worldwide. As a molecular pharmacologist, he was the first to report that in adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) plasma glutamine (Gln) can safely be depleted to an undetectable level with promising anti-leukemic effect.

In his lab, Dr. Emadi directs cutting-edge translational patient-centered research focused on exploiting cancer metabolism particularly the glutamine dependency of cancers. His discovery of the combination of venetoclax (Ven) and pegcrisantaspase (PegC) as a novel, well tolerated and highly active regimen in vivo for the treatment of AML with a complex karyotype is potentially paradigm shifting for the treatment of poor risk AML. Clinically, Dr. Emadi is completely involved in the care of his patients. Through his time attending on inpatient leukemia service and his busy outpatient clinic, he sees > 2000 patient visits per year.

Education and mentorship remain cornerstones of Dr. Emadi's professional mandate. During his tenure of program director for UMGCCC hematology/oncology fellowship program, he expanded the size of the program and implemented curricular updates and strengthened faculty research mentoring to stimulate additional scholarly activity for the trainees. The University of Maryland Hematology/Oncology program is now highly sought out among applicants nationally. Dr. Emadi has mentored numerous clinical/research post-doctoral fellows, who now hold independent faculty positions. He is the Founder and the Presenter of popular Baltimore Oncopharmacology Lecture Series "Pharmacology of Chemotherapeutic Agents from Nitrogen Mustard to Modern Immunotherapies". 

As UMGCCC's associate director for clinical research, Dr. Emadi oversees all clinical research activities and has scientific and administrative oversight of the Clinical Protocol & Data Management (CPDM) group, the Protocol Review and Monitoring System (PRMS) and the Early Phase Clinical Research Support enterprise. He creates strategic planning of clinical research initiatives and guides implementation of standard operating procedures. He formulates initiatives to enhance enrollment, especially of underrepresented minorities, in clinical trials.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

Highlighted Publications

Clinical Translational Investigations on Leukemia:

Emadi A, Jones RJ, Brodsky RA. Cyclophosphamide and cancer: Golden anniversary. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. 2009; 6(11): 638-647.

Emadi A, Karp JE. The clinically relevant pharmacogenomic changes in acute myelogenous leukemia. Pharmacogenomics. 2012; 13(11):1257-1269.

Emadi A, Jun SA, Tsukamoto T, Fathi AT, Minden MD, Dang CV. Inhibition of glutaminase selectively suppresses the growth of primary AML cells with IDH mutations. Experimental Hematology. 2014; 42(4): 247-251.

Emadi A, Zokaee H, Sausville EA. Asparaginase in the Treatment of Non-ALL Hematologic malignancies. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 2014; 73(5):875-883.

Sammons SL, Pratz KW, Smith BD, Karp JE, Emadi A. Sorafenib is tolerable and improves clinical outcomes in patients with FLT3-ITD acute myeloid leukemia prior to stem cell transplant, and after relapse post-transplant. American Journal of Hematology. 2014; 89(9):936-938.

Oliver N, Short B, Thein M, Duong VH, Tidwell ML, Sausville EA, Baer MR, Kamangar F, Emadi A. Treatment of Catheter-related Deep Vein Thrombosis in Acute Leukemia Patients with Anticoagulation. Leukemia & Lymphoma. 2015; 56(7):2082-2086.

Emadi A, Faramand R, Carter-Cooper B, Tolu S, Ford LA, Lapidus RG, Wetzler M, Wang ES, Etemadi A, Griffiths EA. Presence of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations may predict clinical response to hypomethylating agents in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). American Journal of Hematology. 2015; 90(5):E77-79.

Emadi A, Sadowska M, Carter-Cooper B, Bhatnagar V, van der Merwe I, Levis MJ, Sausville EA, Lapidus RG. Perturbation of cellular oxidative state induced by dichloroacetate and arsenic trioxide for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia Research. 2015; 39(7):719-729.

Fathi AT, Wander SA, Faramand R, Emadi A. Biochemical, epigenetic, and metabolic approaches to target IDH mutations in acute myeloid leukemia. Seminars in Hematology. 2015; 52(3):165-171.

Etemadi A, Kamangar F, Islami F, Poustchi H, Pourshams A, Brennan P, Boffetta P, Malekzadeh R, Dawsey SM, Abnet CC, Emadi A. Mortality and cancer in relation to ABO blood group phenotypes in the Golestan Cohort Study. BMC Medicine. 2015;13(1):8.

Emadi A. Exploiting AML Vulnerability: Glutamine Dependency. Blood. 2015; 126(11):1269-1270.

Reddy H, Duffy A, Holtzman NG, Emadi A. The role of β-elimination for the clinical activity of hypomethylating agents and cyclophosphamide analogues. American Journal of Cancer Therapy and Pharmacology. 2016; 3(1):1-8.

Emadi A, Bade NA, Stevenson B, Singh Z. Minimally-myelosuppressive asparaginase-containing induction regimen for treatment of a Jehovah’s Witness with mutant IDH1/NPM1/NRAS acute myeloid leukemia. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2016; 9(1), 12; doi:10.3390/ph9010012.

Babakoohi S, Lapidus RG, Faramand R, Sausville EA, Emadi A. Comparative analysis of methods for detecting isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 mutations and their metabolic consequence, 2-hydroxyglutarate, in different neoplasms. Applied Immunohistochemistry & Molecular Morphology. 2017; 25(5):334-337.

Ding J, Karp JE, Emadi A. Elevated Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) Can be A Marker of Immune Suppression in Cancer Cells: Interplay Between Hematologic and Solid Neoplastic Clones and Their Microenvironment. Cancer Biomarkers. 2017; 19(4):353-363.

Emadi A, Lapidus RG. Breaking mitochondrial fasting for cancer treatment: Old wine in new bottles. Journal National Cancer Institute. 2017; 109 (11):djx069.

El Chaer F, Holtzman NG, Binder E, Porter NC, Singh ZN, KokaM, Rapoport AP, Emadi A. Durable Remission with Salvage Decitabine and Donor Lymphocyte Infusion (DLI) for Relapsed Early T-Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL). Bone Marrow Transplantation. 2017; 52(11):1583-1584.

Emadi A, Law JY, Strovel ET, Lapidus RG, Jeng LJB, Lee M, Blitzer MG, Carter-Cooper BA, Sewell D, Van Der Mewre I, Philips S, Imran M, Yu SL, Li H, Amrein PC, Duong VH, Sausville EA, Baer MR, Fathi AT, Singh ZN, Bentzen AM. Asparaginase Erwinia Chrysanthemi Effectively Depletes Plasma Glutamine in Adult Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 2018; 81(1):217-222.

El Chaer F, Ali OM, MD1, Sausville EA, Law JY, Lee ST, Duong VH, Baer MR, Koka R, Singh ZN, Wong J, Yared JA, Griffiths EA, Emadi A. Treatment of CD19-Positive Mixed Phenotype Acute Leukemias with Blinatumomab. American Journal of Hematology. 2019;94(1):E7-E8.

Adige S, Lapidus RG, Carter-Cooper BA, Duffy A, Patzke C, Law JY, Baer MR, Ambulos NP, Zou Y, Bentzen SM, Emadi A. Equipotent doses of daunorubicin and idarubicin for AML: a meta-analysis of clinical trials versus in vitro estimation. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 2019;83(6):1105-1112.

Bade NA, Lu C, Patzke CL, Baer MR, Duong VH, Law JY, Lee ST, Sausville EA, Zimrin AB, Duffy AP, Lawson J, Emadi A. Optimizing pegylated asparaginase use: An institutional guideline for dosing, monitoring, and management. Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice. 2020;26(1):74-92.

Crist M, Emadi A, Duffy A. Real-world experience managing blinatumomab toxicities in adults with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice. 2019; [Epub ahead of print].

Pratz KW, Rudek MA, Smith BD, Karp J, Gojo I, Dezern A, Jones RJ, Greer J, Gocke C, Baer MR, Duong VH, Rosner G, Zahurak M, Wright JJ, Emadi A, Levis M; ETCTN-8922 study team. A prospective study of peri-transplant sorafenib for FLT3-ITD AML patients undergoing allogeneic transplantation. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 2019; [Epub ahead of print].

Holtzman NG, El Chaer F, Baer MR, Ali O, Patel A, Duong VH, Sausville EA, Singh ZN, Koka R, Zou YS, Etemadi A, Emadi A. Peripheral blood blast rate of clearance is an independent predictor of clinical response and outcomes in acute myeloid leukaemia. British Journal of Haematology. 2019; [Epub ahead of print]. 

Design and Synthesis of Naphthoquinone Chemotherapeutics:

Emadi A, Harwood JS, Kohanim S, Stagliano KW. Regiocontrolled Synthesis of the Trimeric Quinone Framework of Conocurvone. Organic Letters. 2002; 4(4): 521-524.

Stagliano KW, Emadi A. Anti-Retroviral Multi-Quinone Compounds and Regiospecific Synthesis Thereof. United States Patent and Trademark Office; The US Patent Number 6828347; December 07, 2004.

Stagliano KW, Emadi A, Lu Z, Malinakova HC, Twenter B, Yu M, Holland LE, Rom AM, Harwood JS, Amin R, Johnson AA, Pommier Y. Regiocontrolled synthesis and HIV inhibitory activity of unsymmetrical binaphthoquinone and trimeric naphthoquinone derivatives of conocurvone. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. 2006; 14(16): 5651-5665.

Emadi A, Ross AE, Cowan KM, Fortenberry YM, Vuica-Ross M. A Chemical Genetic Screen for Modulators of Asymmetrical 2,2´-Dimeric Naphthoquinone Cytotoxicity in Yeast. PLoS One. 2010; 5(5):e10846.

Emadi A, Le A, Harwood CA, Stagliano KW, Kamangar F, Ross AE, Cooper CR, Dang CV, Karp JE, Vuica-Ross M.  Metabolic and Electrochemical Mechanisms of Dimeric Naphthoquinones Cytotoxicity in Breast Cancer Cells. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. 2011; 19(23): 7057-7062.

Mukhi Pidugu LS, Mbimba JCE, Ahmad M, Pozharski E, Sausville EA, Emadi A, Toth EA. A direct interaction between NQO1 and a chemotherapeutic dimeric naphthoquinone. BMC Structural Biology. 2016; 16(1):1-10.

Lapidus RG, Carter-Cooper BA, Sadowska M, Choi EY, Wonodi O, Muvarak N, Natarajan K, Mukhi Pidugu LS, Jaiswal AK, Toth EA, Rassool FV, Etemadi A, Sausville EA, Baer MR, Emadi A. Hydroxylated dimeric naphthoquinones increase generation of reactive oxygen species, induce apoptosis of AML cells and are not substrates of the multidrug resistance proteins. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2016; 9(1), 4.

Carter-Cooper BA, Fletcher S, Ferraris D, Choi EY, Kronfli D, Dash S, Truong P, Sausville EA, Lapidus RG, Emadi A. Synthesis, characterization and antineoplastic activity of bis-aziridinyl dimeric naphthoquinone - A novel class of compounds with potent activity against acute myeloid leukemia cells. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2017; 27(1):6-10.

Lee MH, Lapidus RG, Ferraris D, Emadi A. Analysis of the Mechanisms of Action of Naphthoquinone-Based Anti-Acute Myeloid Leukemia Chemotherapeutics. Molecules. 2019;24(17), pii: E3121.


Additional Publication Citations

Emadi A, Karp JE. Acute Leukemia: An Illustrated Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment. Demos Medical Publishing, New York, NY, 2017 (Available July 26th, 2017), 368 pages; ISBN: 9781620701003, ebook ISBN: 9781617052774, Image Bank ISBN: 9780826172686, LCCN: 2016055279, Copyright© 2018 Springer Publishing Company. The book contains over 40 tables and over 220 illustrations.

The book provides a unique, comprehensive and concise visual reference on AML and ALL seen in children and adults.

This book addresses all aspects of AML and ALL including their epidemiology, risk factors, cytogenetics and mutational characteristics, diagnoses, clinical management and prognoses which are imperative and challenging for medical students, residents, hematology and medical oncology fellows, and even community oncologists and hematologists. provides helpful and evidence-based treatment recommendations when providing induction therapy, consolidation therapy, and bone marrow transplantation.

It presents complex information relying predominantly on pictorial depictions rather than traditional text in a visually instructive format, and replaces the wordiness of a traditional textbook with original and adapted illustrations, instructive schemata and diagrams, photomicrographs, tables, detailed figure legends, and practical, “bite-sized” text.

Research Interests

Tumor Metabolism: Targeting Glutamine Metabolism in AML and Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma with Asparaginase/Crisantaspase Combination Therapy

Targeted Therapy: Overcoming Resistance to FLT3 Inhibitors

Cancer Immunotherapy: Bi-specific T-cell engagers (BiTEs) in ALL and AML, Targeting IDO Pathway in AML

Clinical Specialty Details

Board certified hematologist & Board certified medical oncologist

The main clinical focus is diagnosis and management of patients with AML, ALL, and mixed phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL).

Also treating patients with chronic myeloid neoplasms including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) [chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET), primary myelofibrosis (PMF)] and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML).

Awards and Affiliations

Martin and Mary Kilpatrick Award, Illinois Institute of Technology, for exceptional ability and promise in chemistry and outstanding achievement in chemical research

Letter of Honor, Illinois Institute of Technology, awarded for recognition of The Highest Standards of Academic Achievement 

Excellence in Translational Research Award, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, awarded for translational research in targeting mitochondrial pathways for cancer treatment

Research Training Award for Fellows, American Society of Hematology, one year salary support for the research project “Targeting Tumor Metabolism for the Treatment of Lymphoma and Leukemia”

Faculty Teacher of The Year Award, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology, for the faculty member in the Division of Hematology/Oncology who has demonstrated excellence in teaching as chosen by the faculty and fellows (2013 and 2017)

Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, in recognition of exemplary research and clinical mentorship