Website: PubMed

Expertise: Cytochrome P450, Drug Interactions, Drug Metabolism, Distribution and Transport, Immunization, Vaccines and Virology


  • B.S. (Honors), 1995, Birzeit University, Palestine
  • Masters (Honors), 2000, University of Kansas
  • Ph.D. (Honors), 2002, University of Kansas

Research Interests

  • Prescription drug negative side effects in the heart, skeletal muscle and bone; associated chemical mechanisms for this toxicity
  • Drug-endogenous substrate interactions
  • Pharmacogenetics


Dr. Totah obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Birzeit University in Palestine and her master’s and PhD in medicinal chemistry from the University of Kansas. Dr. Totah is currently an associate professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry. Her research is in the area of prescription drug negative side effects especially in the heart, skeletal muscle and bone. She focuses on researching the chemical mechanisms for this toxicity. Her research is important in guiding research towards medicines with fewer side effects and safer use. Research in the Totah lab is broadly centered on drug-endogenous substrate interactions.

Selected Publications

  • Roberts AG, Katayama J, Kaspera R, Ledwitch KV, Le Trong I, Stenkamp RE, Thompson JA, Totah RA. “The Role of cytochrome P450 BM3 phenylalanine-87 and threonine-268 in binding organic hydroperoxides.” Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Apr; 1860(4):669-77. PubMed link.
  • Johnson AL, Edson KZ,Totah RA, Rettie AE. “Cytochrome P4540 _-Hyroxylases in Inflammation and Cancer.” Adv Pharmacol. 2015 Jun 27;64:223-62. PubMed link.
  • Kaspera R, Kirby BJ, Sahele T, Collier AC, Kharasch ED, Unadkat JD, Totah RA. “Investigating the contribution of CYP2J2 to ritonavir metabolism in vitro and in vivo.” Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Sep 1; 91(1):109-18. PubMed link.
  • Evangelista EA, Kaspera R, Mokadam NA, Jones JP 3rd, Totah RA. “Activity, inhibition, and induction of cytochrome P450 2J2 in adult human primary cardiomyocytes.” Drug Metab Dispos. 2013 Dec; 41(12):2087-94. PubMed link.
  • Kaspera R, Naraharisetti SB, Tamraz B, Sahele T, Kwok P-Y, Marciante K, Heckbert SR, Psaty BM, Totah RA. “In Vitro Metabolism of Cerivastatin by CPY2C8 Variants Found in Patients Experiencing Rhabdomyolysis.” Pharmacogenetics and Genomics. In press. PubMed link.
  • Kaspera R, Sahele T, Lakatos K, Totah RA. “Cytochrome P450BM-3 reduces aldehydes to alcohols through a direct hydride transfer.” Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Feb 17; 418(3):464-8. PubMed link.
  • Naraharisetti SB, Lin YS, Rieder M, Marciante K, Psaty BM, Thummel KE, Totah RA. “Human Liver Expression of CYP2C8: gender, age and genotype effects.” Drug Metab. Dispos 2010 Jun; 38(6):889-93. PubMed link.
  • Lee C, Neul D, Clouser-Roche A, Dalvie D, Jiang J, Jones III JP, Wester M, Zientek M, Totah RA. Identification of Novel Substrates for CYP2J2. Drug Metab. Disp. 38:347-356 (manuscript featured on the cover of February 2010 edition). PubMed link.