The Vulpe lab is currently focused on 3 areas of research related to environmental toxicology and iron metabolism
Copper and iron are vital nutrients with a highly conserved and interwoven metabolism that is required for the growth and development of all organisms. An overall research goal of the laboratory is to further understand copper and iron metabolism in mammals with a focus on 1) characterizing the role Hephaestin and Zyklopen ferroxidase proteins in iron homeostasis and 2) identifying the genetic factors that influence iron status in mammals using "in silico" QTL analysis of inbred mouse strains and collaborations to study genetic determinants of iron deficiency in humans .
We are utilizing systematic functional analysis through the use of “barcoding” analysis in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to identify conserved toxicity pathways that may provide insight on toxicant susceptibility in people. We are currently focused on pesticides and emerging contaminants, such as biofuels and flame retardants.
We are developing a novel approach for identifying and understanding the toxicity of xenobiotics in aquatic ecosystems by monitoring changes in global gene expression patterns in aquatic indicator species representative of different trophic levels, including Daphnia magna (a crustacean), and Pimephales promelas (fathead minnow). We are assessing the sensitivity, specificity and utility of an ecotoxicogenomics approach for ecological toxicity assessment in real world environmental settings. Tools we are using include traditional microarray technologies as well as high-throughput sequencing methods.