Mohammad Behforouz
Mohammad Behforouz
George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Professor, Ball State University, 1982-2002
Post-Doctoral Research, Organic Synthesis, Boston College 1980-1982
Post-Doctoral Research, Organic Synthesis, Harvard University, 1976-1977
Post Doctoral Research, Organic Synthesis, University of Pennsylvania, 1971-1972
Ph.D., Indiana University, 1965
B.S. Tehran, Iran, 1958

Mohammad Behforouz received his doctorate in organic chemistry from Indiana University. After a short but extremely productive stay at Monsanto Corporation, he and his wife, Nancy, returned to Iran where Mohammad became professor of chemistry at Shiraz University. Toward the end of his work at Shiraz, he served as acting dean of his college during the revolution, and on two separate occasions, Mohammad took sabbatical leaves to study with Michael Cava at the University of Pennsylvania and Nobel Laureate E. J. Corey at Harvard University.

Following the revolution, Mohammad and Nancy left Iran with their three children and a few suitcases. Soon after arriving at Boston College to teach and work with T. R. Kelly, Mohammad was lured to the Midwest and Ball State University.

Bringing extensive teaching and research experience to Ball State, he quickly established a world-class research program in which he and his students synthesized many new potential anti-cancer compounds. Highly funded by several agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society, Mohammad has worked with nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate research students and several visiting scholars. In addition to being named Researcher of the Year, and receiving the first patent issued to a Ball State faculty member, Mohammad was named a George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor in 1993.

Mohammad is a truly valued colleague who has had the patience and drive to be notably successful in world-class, and yet student-centered, scientific research. His kind and giving nature and his extreme intellect are characteristics that have set a standard for the Department of Chemistry, and his service to the department, university, and scientific community has been exemplary.

Research Interests

The main interests of our research group include the areas of total syntheses, synthetic methodologies, and medicinal chemistry. For the past several years we have been involved in the total synthesis of compounds possessing the lavendamycin skeleton. We have developed efficient and short methods for the synthesis of these derivatives.

These analogs are potent anticancer agents and show high toxicity toward tumor cells compared to normal cells. The in-vitro and in-vivo screening tests of our synthetic compounds are done by our research collaborators at Parke-Davis, Duke University and the National Cancer Institute. Through the synthesis and structure- activity relationship studies, our aim is to design and synthesize compounds which may be potentially useful drugs for the treatment of human cancers. Another one of our research areas related to the above is the synthesis of b-Carbolines and tetrahydro- b-Carbolines. These compounds are well-known neurochemicals with interesting physiological activities.


Review: "Diels-Alder Reactions of 1- Azadienes," M. Behforouz and M. Ahmadian, Tetrahedron, 2000, 56, 5259.

"Methyl 2- Amino- 3- (3- indolyl) butanoate," M. Behforouz, R. J. Morris, J. C. Huffman and J. C. Bolinger, Acta Cryst., accepted for publication.

"A Comprehensive Investigation of Variation in Melting Ranges and NMR Data of 2,4-DNP Derivative," M. Behforouz, S. F. Tayyari, J. L. Speakman, M. B. Arnold and W. Cai, J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. 2, 1998, 2195.

"Chemistry of Quinolin- 5,8- Diones, " M. Behforouz, J. Haddad, W. Cai, and Z. Gu, J. Org. Chem. 1998, 63, 343.

"Diels-Alder Condensations of Silyloxy 1- Azadienes," M. Behforouz, Z. Gu, L. S. Stelzer, M. Ahmadian, M. A. Horn, J. Haddad, and J. A. Scherschel, Tetrahedron Lett., 1997, 38, 2211.

"Highly Efficient and Practical Syntheses of Lavendamycin Methyl Ester and Related Quinolinediones," M. Behforouz, J. Haddad, W. Cai, M. A. Arnold, F. Mohammadi, A. C. Sousa and M. A. Horn, J. Org. Chem., 1996, 61, 6552. 


"Synthesis and antitumor Studies of 7- Amino- 2- methylquinoline- 5,8- dione and its Analogs," M. Behforouz and D. C. Williams (Eli Lilly) Patent Disclosure of Inventors, Approved by BSU, Nov. 17, 1995.

"Quilonline- 5,8- Diones and Methods of Making and Using Them," M. Behforouz and R. L. Merriman, U. S. Patent 5, 712, 289, Jan. 27, 1998, assigned to Ball State University.

"Methods of Using Lavendamycin Analogs," M. Behforouz and R. L. Merriman, U. S. Patent 5, 646, 150, July 8, 1997, assigned to Ball State University.

"Lavendamycin Analogs and Methods of Making and Using Them," M. Behforouz and R. L. Merriman (Eli Lilly), U. S. Patent No. 5, 525.611, June 11, 1996, assigned to Ball State University.

"Lavendamycin Analogs, Quinoline- 5,8- diones and Methods of Using Them," M. Behforouz and N. C. Behforouz, U. S. Patent 6, 030, 983, Feb. 2, 2000 assigned to Ball State University.