Research Groups

Expertise and Technology

  • Wong:  Developed several microfluidic and single cell biosensor technologies for monitoring the dynamic response of cells under environmental insults and developing novel countermeasures for the high-risk populations.  


Pre-college Interns get Head start for Science Careers

Glycooxidative Stress and Diabetes

Diabetes is an excellent example of how environmental factors interact with susceptibility genes leading to poor clinical outcomes. The Hispanic population is particularly affected by the diabetes epidemic, but this predisposition is poorly understood. Glucose levels or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) do not successfully predict all individuals at risk of diabetes or diabetes complications.

Oxidative Stress

Mechanisms of cell death are usually classified into two pathways, apoptosis and oncosis/necrosis. Necrosis/oncosis typically occurs in response to toxic injury, including that induced by chemical exposure and reactive oxygen species (ROS). In contrast to apoptosis, oncosis is characterized by cell and organelle swelling that eventually leads to the loss of plasma membrane integrity. The generation of ROS has been implicated in the pathogenesis of renal ischemia/reperfusion injury, and many other pathological conditions.

Glyco-oxidative stress modulates diabetes severity

Relevance to Swehsc : 

Diabetes is at epidemic proportions in Native American communities, and to a lesser extent in the general population. Understanding the role of environmental stressors on disease outcome holds the promise of improving patient management and potentially identifying new treatment targets.

Cluster of Efforts: 

Lau (RFG3), Stump (RFG3), Billheimer (IHSFC-Biostats), Tsaprailis (Proteomics): Technology and Research Initiative Funds (TRIF), NIEHS/ES006694 Pilot Project, NIDDK/DK083948, NCRR/S10RR022384

  • Drs. Lau and Stump have collected blood and urine samples from >100 subjects, predominantly of Hispanic ethnicity. Quantification of free MG and MG-adducts in urine is in progress.
  • MS-based proteomics approaches to differentially profile and quantitate serum protein modification by MG in normal subjects and T2D patients, revealed several novel potential biomarkers. One of these, MG-modified fibrinogen is now being validated. This biomarker appears to offer superior discrimination of diabetic complications than conventional biomarkers that capture glucose binding only as glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C)
  • Urinary arsenic metabolites (As)/24 hrs were also measured (Gandolfi, RFG1) in 14 subjects without diabetes and 19 subjects with diabetes. Total urinary As was significantly elevated in diabetes (p<0.05).


Photooxidative Damage and Skin Cancer

The unique environment of the Southwest involves extraordinarily high levels of ultraviolet light exposure, leading to degenerative conditions in skin and to skin cancer. Center investigators are studying how environmental factors and micronutrients modulate UV damage.

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