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Vasilis Vasiliou, PhD

Department Chair and Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health Sciences) and of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

Contact Information

Vasilis Vasiliou, PhD

Mailing Address

  • Environmental Health Sciences

    60 College St.

    New Haven, CT, 06510

    United States



Vasilis Vasiliou, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. He received his BSc in Chemistry (1983) and PhD in Biochemical Pharmacology (1988) from the University of Ioannina, Greece. He then trained in gene-environment interactions, molecular toxicology and pharmacogenetics at the Department of Environmental Health in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati (1991-1995). In 1996, he joined the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy where he rose through the ranks to become Professor and Director of the Toxicology Graduate Program. Since 2008, he was also Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In July 2014, he joined the faculty of Yale University in his new position.

Professor Vasiliou has established an internationally-recognized research program that has been continuously funded by NEI/NIH and NIAAA/NIH since 1997. His research interests include mechanisms of cellular responses to environmental stress, gene-environment interactions, alcohol toxicity, pharmacogenetics and the evolution of gene families. His research focuses on the role of aldehyde dehydrogenases, cytochrome P-450s and glutathione in metabolism and disease (specifically, alcohol-induced tissue injury, diabetes, gout and cancer).

Dr. Vasiliou has published over 140 papers and edited a book on Alcohol and Cancer. He has trained over twenty doctoral and post-doctoral students. Dr. Vasiliou is the editor of Human Genomics and serves on the editorial boards of several toxicology and visual sciences journals.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    University of Ioannina (1988)


  • Alcohol and Colon Cancer
    Germany; Japan 2013
    Project with Drs. Helmut Seitz and Sebastian Mueller and Drs. Akira Yokoyama and Takesi Misukami that examines the role of genes encoding alcohol metabolizing enzymes in human colon cancer.
  • Role of ALDHs in Diabetes
    Germany 2011
    Project with Dr. Antony Gavalas (University of Dresden) on the involvement of ALDH1B1 and other aldehyde dehydrogenases in diabetes.
  • Structural/Chemical Biology of Aldehyde Dehydrogenases
    United Kingdom 2007
    Collaboration with Professor Udo Oppermann on elucidation of crystal structures of various aldehyde dehydrogenases, the results of which will be used in drug discovery.

Departments & Organizations