Vasilis Vasiliou, PhD

Department Chair and Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health) and of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

Research Interests

Alcoholism; Aldehyde Dehydrogenase; Diabetes Mellitus; Environmental Health; Glutathione; Gout; Ophthalmology; Genomics

Public Health Interests

Alcoholism/Alcohol; Cancer; Diabetes; Environmental Health; Genomics; Metabolism

Research Organizations

School of Public Health: Vasiliou Lab

Faculty Research

Liver Center

Yale Cancer Center: Developmental Therapeutics

Research Summary

Dr Vasiliou’s research interests include mechanisms of cellular responses to environmental stress, gene-environment interactions, alcohol toxicity, pharmacogenetics and the evolution of gene families.

His research focuses on the role of aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) and glutathione (GSH) in metabolism, cellular responses to environmental stress and disease. Currently, his laboratory studies the roles of: corneal crystallins (ALDH3A1 and ALDH1A1) in cellular defense mechanisms against UV-radiation, ALDH1B1 and other alcohol metabolizing enzymes in human colon cancer, ALDH16A1 in gout, and ALDH7A1 in pyridoxine-dependent adolescent epilepsy. Other areas of active research include delineation of the involvement of brain ethanol metabolism in alcohol drinking preference and examination of GSH as a signaling molecule in anterior eye development and in diabetes.

Drug discovery represents a newer area of active interest, emanating out of the recent identification of ALDHs as markers of cancer stem cells. In a multi-investigator collaboration with several universities and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Dr. Vasiliou is developing small molecules that will enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiotherapy of cancer.

Specialized Terms: Mechanisms of Cellular Responses to Environmental Stress, Gene-Environment Interactions; Alcohol and Disease; Aldehyde Dehydrogenases and Glutathione in Metabolism and Disease (specifically, diabetes, gout and cancer), Cancer Drug Discovery, and Evolution of Gene Families.

Extensive Research Description

  • Alcohol and Colon Cancer
  • Alcohol and Drinking Behavior
  • Corneal Crystallins as Cellular Response to UV radiation
  • Glutathione in Eye Development
  • Glutathione in Diabetes
  • Drug Discovery (Targeting Cancer Stem Cells)

Selected Publications

Full List of PubMed Publications

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