Peter Vitiello, PhD, Lab
Primary Research Focus
Toxins in our environment cause human disease by disrupting normal cellular and physiological processes. The mission of the Vitiello laboratory is to determine the molecular influence of environmental toxins on tissue development, homeostasis, and disease pathogenesis. We are specifically interested in discovering how chemicals in the atmosphere affect lung growth. By accelerating fundamental research by defining how toxins influence disease susceptibility and pathogenesis, we hope to improve the human condition by stimulating new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
Behind the Research
The Vitiello Laboratory works to identify and define the molecular interface between environmental toxins and biological systems, influencing tissue development, homeostasis, and disease pathogenesis. Research is targeted at understanding how atmospheric chemicals alter redox signaling and molecular networks via cysteine oxidation. Furthermore, a major emphasis is placed on thioredoxin and glutathione systems in the biochemical regulation of cysteine oxidation during oxidative injury. We are specifically interested in the physiological relevance of these molecular pathways in the pulmonary epithelium, an important cellular barrier and sensor of atmospheric toxins, including oxygen transitioning during birth and therapeutic administration of excess oxygen (hyperoxia) in pre-term babies.
To determine the role of redox signaling during lung development and disease pathogenesis in response to oxidative perturbations, we utilize a variety of genetic, molecular, proteomic, and cellular approaches. By increasing our knowledge of how redox-dependent molecular networks function in response to atmospheric toxins and oxidative injury, we hope to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to predict, ameliorate, and prevent the life-long burden of pulmonary diseases such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Employees and students working in the laboratory are expected to make original research contributions after receiving training on experimental design, instrument operation, and data analysis applying molecular approaches across cellular and animal systems.