Teresa A. Liberati, DVM, PhD
- Laboratory Animal Medicine
My laboratory studies pulmonary carcinogenesis caused by environmental exposure to toxicants and known carcinogens. In particular, we are interested in the innate response of the alveolar lung tissue and alterations in the alveolar cells cytokine/chemokine profiles following exposure to tobacco-source carcinogens, e-liquid components and particulate matter. Numerous factors, including cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and inflammatory regulators likely contribute to tumor initiation. Determining the role of these factors in conjunction with recognized molecular changes in the lung epithelial cells could support an earlier identification of tumors, improved prognostic indicators, or better risk analysis for patients. Mechanistic studies in the laboratory use cell lines and a lung slice tissue culture model. Our lung slice model allows for in vitro exposure of lung tissue from multiple sources to a variety of pulmonary toxicants. Recent work in our laboratory has examined the ability of caloric-restriction and obesity to modify the response of the lung to known pulmonary carcinogens. Understanding the possible mechanism behind the observed changes is a key focus. Newer studies in the laboratory are focused on the toxicological effects of e-liquid components on the cells of the alveolar region.
Current collaborations include examining inflammatory mediators and how they are altered by physical exercise in patients with pulmonary or cardiac inflammatory diseases. The laboratory also participates in collaborative clinical research by determining the inflammatory profiles of surgically resected tumor, biopsy specimens, and serum from individuals exposed to lung carcinogens, especially tobacco exposure, or with inflammatory lung disease.