The Vulpe lab is currently focused on 3 areas of research related to functional and eco-toxicology and iron metabolism
Link to a complete list of publications: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1XmgXX3u2qmkO/bibliography/47990729/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending
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 .
The number of man-made chemicals continues to grow yet we have a limited understanding of the biological effects of the vast majority. Our group has pioneered the use of a functional approach to comprehensively assess and identify key genes, processes and pathways underlying the eukaryotic cellular response to chemical toxicity. Other genomic approaches do not functionally assess the role of each gene/protein/metabolite in response but only identify a correlation with environmental stressors. As such, these observations do not identify a causal link between exposure, gene/protein/metabolite level, and phenotypic outcome. In contrast, functional approaches directly identify the genes necessary for cellular survival in a toxicant exposure. We have used this approach to better understand the mechanism of action of multiple chemical contaminants including arsenicals, benzene metabolites, TCE metabolites. We identified several genes and pathways that are may play a role in human susceptibility for these compounds. Most recently we have developed similar approaches in mammalian cells using CRISPR based approaches.
In order to implement the most advanced practices for ensuring water quality, rapid and accurate screens are necessary to identify water bodies and additionally the design and production of new chemicals for manufacturing or agriculture require effective methods to predict their environmental toxicity. We have been a leader in the utilization of genomic approaches to identify and understand the toxicity of xenobiotics in aquatic ecosystems.