Viswanathan Natarajan, PhD

    Email Address:
    College: Medicine Department: Pharmacology
    Title: Professor of Pharmacology & Medicine; Co-Director, Institute for Personalized Respiratory Medicine
    Office: COMRB 3137 Phone: 312-355-5896
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    My laboratory has been investigating for over 25 years the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and bioactive lipids in vascular endothelial signaling, injury and barrier integrity. ROS have been implicated in the pathophysiology of several respiratory diseases including ARDS, COPD, pulmonary hypertension and bronchopulmonary dysplasia and our current primary focus is on the role and regulation of NADPH Oxidase and NOX proteins in hyperoxia- and sepsis-induced lung injury. We were the first to demonstrate that sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is an agonist in endothelial cell signal transduction and S1P is the most potent angiogenic naturally occurring bioactive lipid that is present in plasma and tissues. My laboratory has been studying mechanisms of generation of intracellular S1P mediated by sphingosine kinases and degradation catalyzed by lipid phosphate phosphatases and S1P lyase in the endothelium and S1P lyase as a novel target of sepsis-mediated lung injury. Our investigations suggest a role of intracellular S1P in lung inflammation, injury, cell motility and NADPH Oxidase dependent ROS production. More recently, we have been investigating the role of HATS and HDACs in Mesothelioma and potential regulation of HATs/HDACs by sphingosine kinases and S1P lyase. These ongoing projects involve basic and translational research to develop novel therapeutic strategies and targets to limit the adverse effects of inflammatory lung injury.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 3

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Minimum GPA: 3.5 to 4.0
    Prerequisit Classes: Biology and/or Chemistry
    Preferred Major: Biology or Chemistry or Pre-Med Student
    Honors College Student Preference: Not Required
    Years in College: Freshman or 1/2 years
    Prior Experience: Preferred but not essential
    Communication: Should be able to communicate in English

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    The student should be motivated to get trained in basic and translational research related to endothelial biology/signal transduction/lung injury. He or she is expected to work under a senior laboratory investigator to get trained in a specific area of investigation. After successful completion of initial training (1-4 weeks), will be assigned to a project and will be mentored. The student is expected to be on time and follow instructions. He or she is expected to attend weekly laboratory meetings and also make presentation of the work at least once a month. Maintenance of laboratory notebook and recording the experimental details is absolutely critical. The student is also expected to interact with other members of the group and spend the time in activities related to research.

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