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Vasiliou Laboratory (V-Lab)

Vasiliou Lab

Dr. Vasiliou’s research focuses on investigating the etiologies and molecular mechanisms of environmentally-induced human disease, such as liver disease, obesity & diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. More specifically, research in his lab focuses on the means by which the exposome (total exposures throughout life), metabolism (specifically aldehyde dehydrogenases and cytochrome P-450s) and antioxidants (glutathione and catalase) contribute to human health and disease. His laboratory utilizes state-of-the-art integrated system approaches that include metabolomics, lipidomics, redox proteomics, exposomics, tissue imaging mass spectrometry, machine-learning, as well as human cohorts and genetically-engineered mouse models in order to elucidate mechanisms, and to discover biomarkers and novel interventions for human disease. His laboratory is fully equipped with 4 state-of-the-art mass spectrometers described in his metabolomic facility.

Our active research projects include:

(i) Utilization of novel mass spectrometry-based metabolomics/lipidomics/redox proteomics, tissue imaging mass spectrometry, and their integration by machine-learning techniques to discover biomarkers for and pathogenic mechanisms of Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD).
(ii) Identifying unique metabolomic signatures in human plasma for predicting clinical outcomes of COVID-19.
(iii) Investigating the role of redox biology in the development of eye disease (microphthalmia), alcohol-associated liver disease, and obesity & diabetes, with special focus on transcription factors (NRF-2), antioxidants (glutathione, GSH) and antioxidant enzymes (catalase, CAT).
(iv) Characterizing aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) and CYP450s in gene-environment interactions in human disease (ALDH3A1/1A1 cellular defense against UV-radiation; ALDH1B1 and other alcohol metabolizing enzymes in human colon cancer; ALDH2/ALDH1A1 in neurodegenerative diseases, CYP2E1 in acetaminophen associated attention deficit disorders).
(v) Elucidating emerging environmental contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane and PFAS in human disease by combined epidemiological and molecular approaches.

Other areas of active research in the form of international collaborations include the role of exposome in influencing the severity of asthma in children and in hastening aging.

Finally, drug discovery also represents an area of active research interest in the Vasiliou lab, beginning with the identification of ALDHs as markers of cancer stem cells. In a multi-investigator collaboration with several universities and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Dr. Vasiliou’s lab has been developing small molecules designed to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiotherapy of cancer.