Our research group focuses mainly on the molecular mechanisms of action and detoxication of exogenous and endogenous chemicals and toxic agents. Of particular interest are aspects of molecular biology related to biochemical toxicology. These include studies of the expression of genes related to detoxication and activation enzymes toxicants with modes of action involving effects on nucleic acids gene expression and protein synthesis and the toxicity of compounds derived from diet and drugs.
We investigate these processes with particular focus on the actions and regulation of cytochrome P450 and other drug metabolizing enzymes in the liver, lung and brain. Biochemical and molecular biological techniques are used to identify and characterize factors that regulate the transcription of genes encoding these enzymes, so as to better understand the role they play in the body.
Our research group centers on changes in transcription rate, direct inhibition, and how such changes arise from the influence of diet, complementary therapies, administered drugs, and environmental and other chemicals. The expertise of the research group has been utilized in studies over a wide range of diseases and pharmacological agents, mainly cancer and multiple sclerosis. How natural products present in traditional medicines and medicinal plants might interfere with the gene of the metabolizing enzymes which are critical for their future potential as therapeutic agents. How drug metabolizing and other enzymes are affected by these traditional products as their evaluation as chemopreventive, cytoprotective compounds for drug candidates.
Current work is primarily in three areas: 1) elucidation of the role of selected traditional medicinal plants and related compounds in control of carcinogenesis, and 2) evaluation of selected and novel compounds for anti-inflammatory potential and/or other adverse effects for complementary and alternative treatment options for multiple sclerosis, and 3) Epigenetics focuses on turning on and off these genes may affect the certain processes.
Laboratory methods utilized to carry out these research include in vivo screening studies, as well as in vitro cell culture systems, subcellular organelle isolation by differential centrifugation, biochemical enzyme assay, HPLC analysis, and protein purification. Molecular techniques include cDNA cloning, CRISPR, immunological techniques, fluorescence microscopy, Western and Northern blot analyses, as well as real-time PCR analysis of mRNA, and Luciferase reporter systems. Detailed woks can be reached from the publications.