Babak Baban, PhD Augusta University

Babak Baban, PhD

Associate Dean for Research, Dental College of Georgia


Babak Baban, PhD, is a professor, immunologist and associate dean for research at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University.

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Babak Baban is a professor, immunologist and associate dean for research at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University where he has served for 13 of his 20 years as a translational and clinical immunologist.

Baban founded Medicinal Cannabis of Georgia, LLC with AU’s Bio-business Incubator, resulting in great strides in pre-clinical research. Through very productive collaborations with AU and DCG, they have published discoveries that brought promise for novel and potential treatments.

He has published 134 peer-reviewed articles, has four patents issued and several pending, and was named a Regents’ Entrepreneurs by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in 2023.

He earned his Ph.D. degree from University of London in UK.

Areas of Expertise

Cannabidiol (CBD)
Oral Biology
Lung Cancer


Regents’ Entrepreneur, Board of Regents, University System of GA


Distinguished Research Award, The Graduate School, Augusta University


Honorary Membership, Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), Honor Dental Society


Membership, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society


Featured Podium Presenter Award, Janssen Immunology Symposium, Johnson & Johnson Innovation



Harvard Business School Online


Leadership Principles


Augusta University


Health Management


Augusta State University



University of London (UCL)




  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • American Association for Advanced Sciences (AAAS)
  • American Association of Immunology (AAI)
  • American Association for Bioanalysis (AAB)
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA)
  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • American Dental Association (ADA)
  • American Heart Association (AHA)
  • American Association of Dental Research (AADR)
  • International Association for Dental Research (IADR)
  • European Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine Association (EPMA)
  • International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS)
  • Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT)
  • The International Association For The Study Of Lung Cancer (IASLC)


Media Appearances

CANABIX, a Beverage with Combined CBD and Probiotics, Kindles the Fight Against Diabetes Type 2

Fox 40 Sacramento  tv


Hydro One Premium Beverages, maker of natural functional beverages, is proud to announce that its line of US Patent Pending CANABIX® beverages, has been shown to reduce the glycemic indicators, increase insulin production, improve the microbiome and alleviate the symptoms of a pre-clinical model of type 2 diabetes. CANABIX® is the first and only natural beverage containing a combined formulation of cannabidiol (CBD) and probiotics developed by Hydro One Premium Beverages in 2020. In a study done by researchers at Augusta University, drinking CANABIX instead of water was able to lower Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, known as A1c) significantly from 9% to 5% in mice with diabetes type 2 (db/db mice). Further, CANABIX increased insulin production in pancreatic cells and altered microbiome towards a protective profile by reducing inflammatory indices. These novel findings were reported as preprint on June 4th 2024 ( and currently is under peer review for publication. Diabetes is a complex disease involving multiple organs in the body. Therefore, its treatment is challenging because of multi-target tissues, medication complexity, patient adherence to the therapy, and cost, says Dr. Phillip Wang the lead scientist of the research team. Despite significant advances in the treatment of symptoms, the underlying causes of diabetes remain intractable. There have been several studies showing the effects of dietary food and beverage supplements on diabetes. However, to the best of our knowledge this is the first study to report a comprehensive beneficial effect on several major aspects of diabetes by a natural beverage, particularly, lowering HbA1c (from 9% to 5%) as well as altering microbiome says corresponding author of the study, Dr. Phillip Wang. “The gut microbiota plays a central role in immune balance and influences the metabolic processes, crucial factors in the development as well as treatment of type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Babak Baban, Professor of Immunology at Augusta University and co-author of the study. “Altering the profile of microbiome and the significant reduction in A1c in a few weeks only through a beverage are very significant and exciting cutting-edge achievements that warrant further research and clinical trials,” added Baban.

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The Means Report

WJBF  tv


From gummies, to vapes to prescriptions, CBD is everywhere. On this edition of The Means Report, we take a close look at this compound that comes from marijuana. It’s not pot. So what is it? And why is it so popular? You will want to hear from Dr. Baback Baban. He’s a researcher at Augusta University. Dr. Baban has done extensive studies on the use of CBD for seizures. More recently he’s looked at how it can be applied to fight lung cancer. Watch our interview and come away more informed about CBD.

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Marijuana ingredient could be therapy for a deadly brain tumor, Augusta University finds

The Augusta Chronicle  online


One of the active ingredients in marijuana known as cannabidiol or CBD offers some intriguing potential as a therapy, said Dr. Babak Baban, associate dean for research at Dental College of Georgia. CBD does not cause a high, and a drug based on it is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat seizures in children; additionally, it is relatively safe with few side effects, he said. But it has also shown it can be a powerful regulator of the immune system and that is part of what makes it attractive as a therapy for these tumors, Baban said.

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Can Cannabis Help Treat Cancer? Researchers Are Getting Closer To An Answer

Inverse  online


Babak Baban, an immunologist at the University of Augusta’s Dental College of Georgia, has spent years studying the potential therapeutic applications of the cannabinoid CBD — also called cannabidiol. “As an immunologist, I am naturally interested in any compound that can impact the immune system, health, and diseases,” Baban tells Inverse, noting that cannabis has been used medicinally for thousands of years. “However, the mechanisms responsible for the effects are not known yet.” Additionally, he says, there are many diseases for which CBD could be an effective treatment, so further study of the compound is warranted.

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Inhalant CBD offers hope in fight against lung cancer, Augusta University study finds

Jagwire  online


The study was led by Babak Baban, PhD, associate dean of research, immunologist and professor at DCG and one of the founders of Medicinal Cannabis of Georgia, an Augusta-based biomedical research and development company. Earlier this year, Baban was named a Regents’ Entrepreneur by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. [] “The central core of our research has been studying inflammatory diseases and for that, we picked two different directions: one is centered around chronic inflammation in our system and the other is neurologic diseases such as dementia. Because of their impressive anti-inflammation effects, CBD, CBC and other cannabinoids have attracted our attention,” Baban said.

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“The central core of our research has been studying inflammatory diseases and for that we picked two different directions: one is centered around chronic inflammation in our system and the other is neurologic diseases such as dementia. Because of their impressive anti-inflammation effects, CBD, CBC and other cannabinoids have attracted our attention."

“We have had some exciting findings before, and based on those, we built a new model of lung cancer. This is the first time the effect of the CBD has been assessed in inhalant format using an inhaler. This makes it more translatable into humans and more accurate.” .


Reprofiling synthetic glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper fusion peptide as a novel and effective hair growth promoter

Springer Link

Sahar Emami Naeini, Bidhan Bhandari, Jules Gouron, Hannah M. Rogers, Pablo Shimaoka Chagas, Golnaz Emami Naeini, Henrique Izumi Shimaoka Chagas, Hesam Khodadadi, Évila Lopes Salles, Mohammad Seyyedi, Jack C. Yu, Beata K. Grochowska, Lei P. Wang & Babak Baban


Hair is a biofilament with unique multi-dimensional values. In human, in addition to physiologic impacts, hair loss and hair related disorders can affect characteristic features, emotions, and social behaviors. Despite significant advancement, there is a dire need to explore alternative novel therapies with higher efficacy, less side effects and lower cost to promote hair growth to treat hair deficiency. Glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) is a protein rapidly induced by glucocorticoids. Studies from our group and many others have suggested that a synthetic form of GILZ, TAT-GILZ, a fusion peptide of trans-activator of transcription and GILZ, can function as a potent regulator of inflammatory responses, re-establishing and maintaining the homeostasis. In this study, we investigate whether TAT-GILZ could promote and contribute to hair growth. For our pre-clinical model, we used 9–12 week-old male BALB/c and nude (athymic, nu/J) mice. We applied TAT-GILZ and/or TAT (vehicle) intradermally to depilated/hairless mice. Direct observation, histological examination, and Immunofluorescence imaging were used to assess the effects and compare different treatments. In addition, we tested two current treatment for hair loss/growth, finasteride and minoxidil, for optimal evaluation of TAT-GILZ in a comparative fashion. Our results showed, for the first time, that synthetic TAT-GILZ peptide accelerated hair growth on depilated dorsal skin of BALB/c and induced hair on the skin of athymic mice where hair growth was not expected. In addition, TAT-GILZ was able to enhance hair follicle stem cells and re-established the homeostasis by increasing counter inflammatory signals including higher regulatory T cells and glucocorticoid receptors. In conclusion, our novel findings suggest that reprofiling synthetic TAT-GILZ peptide could promote hair growth by increasing hair follicle stem cells and re-establishing homeostasis.

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Altering biomolecular condensates as a potential mechanism that mediates cannabidiol effect on glioblastoma

Springer Link

Lei P. Wang, Pablo Shimaoka Chagas, Évila Lopes Salles, Sahar Emami Naeini, Jules Gouron, Hannah M. Rogers, Hesam Khodadadi, Bidhan Bhandari, Ahmet Alptekin, Xu Qin, Kumar Vaibhav, Vincenzo Costigliola, David C. Hess, Krishnan M. Dhandapani, Ali S. Arbab, Martin J. Rutkowski, Jack C. Yu & Babak Baban


Glioblastoma (GBM) is an extremely aggressive primary brain tumor with poor prognosis, short survival time post-diagnosis and high recurrence. Currently, no cure for GBM exists. The identification of an effective therapeutic modality for GBM remains a high priority amongst medical professionals and researches. In recent studies, inhalant cannabidiol (CBD) has demonstrated promise in effectively inhibiting GBM tumor growth. However, exactly how CBD treatment affects the physiology of these tumor cells remains unclear. Stress granules (SG) (a sub-class of biomolecular condensates (BMC)) are dynamic, membrane-less intracellular microstructures which contain proteins and nucleic acids. The formation and signaling of SGs and BMCs plays a significant role in regulating malignancies. This study investigates whether inhaled CBD may play an intervening role towards SGs in GBM tumor cells. Integrated bioinformatics approaches were preformed to gain further insights. This includes use of Immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry to measure SGs, as well as expression and phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α). The findings of this study reveal that CBD receptors (and co-regulated genes) have the potential to play an important biological role in the formation of BMCs within GBM. In this experiment, CBD treatment significantly increased the volume of TIAR-1. This increase directly correlated with elevation in both eIF2α expression and p-eIF2α in CBD treated tissues in comparison to the placebo group (p 

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Inhibiting MicroRNA-141-3p Improves Musculoskeletal Health in Aged Mice

Aging and Disease

2023 Emerging evidence shows that the microRNA-141-3p is involved in various age-related pathologies. Previously, our group and others reported elevated levels of miR-141-3p in several tissues and organs with age. Here, we inhibited the expression of miR-141-3p using antagomir (Anti-miR-141-3p) in aged mice and explored its role in healthy aging. We analyzed serum (cytokine profiling), spleen (immune profiling), and overall musculoskeletal phenotype. We found decreased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as TNF-α, IL-1β, IFN-γ) in serum with Anti-miR-141-3p treatment. The flow-cytometry analysis on splenocytes revealed decreased M1 (pro-inflammatory) and increased M2 (anti-inflammatory) populations. We also found improved bone microstructure and muscle fiber size with Anti-miR-141-3p treatment. Molecular analysis revealed that miR-141-3p regulates the expression of AU-rich RNA-binding factor 1 (AUF1) and promotes senescence (p21, p16) and pro-inflammatory (TNF-α, IL-1β, IFN-γ) environment whereas inhibiting miR-141-3p prevents these effects. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the expression of FOXO-1 transcription factor was reduced with Anti-miR-141-3p and elevated with silencing of AUF1 (siRNA-AUF1), suggesting crosstalk between miR-141-3p and FOXO-1. Overall, our proof-of-concept study demonstrates that inhibiting miR-141-3p could be a potential strategy to improve immune, bone, and muscle health with age.

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Recombinant human DNase-I improves acute respiratory distress syndrome via neutrophil extracellular trap degradation

Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis

2023 Background: Respiratory failure is the primary cause of death in patients with COVID-19, whereas coagulopathy is associated with excessive inflammation and multiorgan failure. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) may exacerbate inflammation and provide a scaffold for thrombus formation. Objectives: The goal of this study was to determine whether degradation of NETs by recombinant human DNase-I (rhDNase), a safe, Food and Drug Administration-approved drug, reduces excessive inflammation, reverses aberrant coagulation, and improves pulmonary perfusion after experimental acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Methods: Intranasal poly(I:C), a synthetic double-stranded RNA, was administered to adult mice for 3 consecutive days to simulate a viral infection, and these subjects were randomized to treatment arms, which received either an intravenous placebo or rhDNase. The effects of rhDNase on immune activation, platelet aggregation, and coagulation were assessed in mice and donor human blood.

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Inflammaging, cellular senescence, and cognitive aging after traumatic brain injury

Neurobiology of Disease

2023 Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with mortality and morbidity worldwide. Accumulating pre-clinical and clinical data suggests TBI is the leading extrinsic cause of progressive neurodegeneration. Neurological deterioration after either a single moderate-severe TBI or repetitive mild TBI often resembles dementia in aged populations; however, no currently approved therapies adequately mitigate neurodegeneration. Inflammation correlates with neurodegenerative changes and cognitive dysfunction for years post-TBI, suggesting a potential association between immune activation and both age- and TBI-induced cognitive decline. Inflammaging, a chronic, low-grade sterile inflammation associated with natural aging, promotes cognitive decline. Cellular senescence and the subsequent development of a senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP) promotes inflammaging and cognitive aging, although the functional association between senescent cells and neurodegeneration is poorly defined after TBI. In this mini-review, we provide an overview of the pre-clinical and clinical evidence linking cellular senescence with poor TBI outcomes. We also discuss the current knowledge and future potential for senotherapeutics, including senolytics and senomorphics, which kill and/or modulate senescent cells, as potential therapeutics after TBI.

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