Peter Vitiello, PhD, Lab

 Vitiello Lab

Primary Research Focus

Dr. Vitiello Bio

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.


Peter Vitiello
  • Assistant scientist with the Children’s Health Research Center
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota
  • Bachelor of Science in biology, Lafayette College, Easton, PA
  • Doctorate in toxicology and postdoctoral fellowship, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, NY

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.


Thioredoxin Signaling During Pulmonary Development and Perinatal Oxidative Injury


Resources Positions Available
Access Peter Vitiello's publications here. Join a dedicated team of researchers and help shape the future of redox biology and lung research. See open positions here.
Meet members of the Vitiello lab here.  
Contact Information for Vitiello Lab:  
Phone: (605) 312-6405


Lab News

February 2017, Peter Vitiello, PhD, was elected Vice President of the Board of Directors for South Dakota STARBASE. Four STARBASE sites in SD funded by the Department of Defense collectively serve over 4,000 5th grade students each year through a core curriculum that promotes problem-solving using physics, chemistry, engineering and technology. Concepts and principles are related to real-world scenarios through participation from military volunteers demonstrating how science and engineering principles support a variety of career applications.

November 2016, Dr. Vitiello judged abstracts and posters while attending the 2016 meeting for the Society of Redox Biology & Medicine in San Francisco, CA.

November 2016, Dr. Vitiello gave an invited seminar entitled "Redox signaling during oxidative lung injury" to the Department of Physiology & Developmental Biology at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

September 2016, The Vitiello Lab published a study entitled "A novel mouse model for the identification of thioredoxin-1 protein interactions" in the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine.

January 2017: Dr. Peter Vitiello published a research article in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity titled “Detoxification of mitochondrial oxidants and apoptotic signaling are facilitated by thioredoxin-2 and peroxiredoxin-3 during hyperoxic injury” in PLoS ONE (PMID 28045936). Co-authors include Benjamin Forred, Darwin Daugaard, Brianna Titus, Ryan Wood, Dr. Miranda Floen, and Dr. Michelle Booze.


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