Receptor pharmacology, signal transduction, medicinal plant, endocrine/immunopharmacology
Current research of this laboratory focus on the functions of estrogen receptors on immune cells and the roles of estrogen in autoimmune diseases, the activities are also compared with phytoestrogens, a potential alternative to estrogens. This work includes the search for the mechanisms of signaling pathways and how these signaling pathways relate to human diseases.
Laboratory for nitric oxide and malaria research
Our interest is focused on biology of nitric oxide and its metabolites including dysregulation of nitric oxide metabolism in diseases including thalassemia and cancer. Nitric oxide is primary measured by the chemiluminescence methods. In addition, we have cultured the cancer cell line and primary endothelial cells.
Laboratory for neuroprotective aspects of Thai medicinal plants
Our lab is interested in the neuroprotective aspects of Thai medicinal plants, such as Curcuma longa, Curcuma comosa, and Moringa oleifera, these are known to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Oxidative stress and neuroinflammation resulting from chronic activation of microglia have been implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Two in vitro models of neurodegeneration are studied in the lab: the first model uses a neurotoxin specific to dopaminergic neurons to induce neurotoxicity in dopaminergic cell lines; the second model uses lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce microglial activation. Our current focus is on identifying signaling pathways involved in the neuroprotective effects of the crude extracts and pure compounds isolated from the medicinal plants. In the future, we will expand our studies of neurodegenerative diseases to incorporate advanced molecular biology techniques and topics, such as microarray profiling, RNA interference, lentiviral vector expression, and stem cell therapeutics.
Laboratory for iron and free radical research
Free radical reactions involve in pathogenesis of several diseases. Our laboratory develops and utilizes the advance technique especially electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to characterize free radical reactions mainly in iron overload and thalassemia syndrome as well as other oxidative related diseases. Pharmacology of iron chelators is also a line of our research.
Laboratory of animal models in pain research and musculoskeletal disorders
Our research focuses on using animal models as research tools to provide important knowledge of pathological conditions that can eventually lead to the development of more effective clinical treatment of musculoskeletal disorders in humans. The animal models are essential to bridge the translational gap between in vitro studies and clinical research. Our research interests are focused on identifying alternative approaches for treating pain-associated with orthopaedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and cartilage injuries. We currently employed tissue engineering approaches such as mesenchymal stem cell therapies and synthetic scaffold implantation to repair damaged cartilage and bone in a rat model of cartilage and bone defect. In addition, mechanisms underlying musculoskeletal pain are also of interest.
Herbal medicine research
Osteoarthritis is a common inflammatory disease in elderly people (e.g. > 30 of Thai people over age of 65 yr). Because of the risk associated with the use of NSAIDs in these patients, The option of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as acupuncture and medicinal herbs, are selected as alternative therapies for most OA patients. We search for the herbs with anti-inflammatory or anti- arthritic properties with a safe and effective adjunction therapeutic approach for the treatment of OA patients. Current herbs under study are Derris Scandens and Ananas Comosus. The mechanism of action of these two medicinal herbs were investigated. Many equipment such as platelet aggregometer, HPLC, PCR, Elisa and NO detector etc are used for these purposes.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Wnt signaling plays a critical role in cell fate and differentiation decision during embryogenesis and in hematopoietic stem cells. Aberrancy in its regulation resulting in a reactivation of β-catenin signaling which is essential in the leukemic transformation of normal progenitor cells and self-renewal property of leukemia stem cells (LSCs). Our laboratory focuses on the effects of Wnt activity, particularly the canonical β–catenin pathway, in leukemia cell lines. We use multiple complementary techniques including flow cytometry to study surface proteins, intracellular transcription factors, and cell cycle, real-time PCR, and apoptosis assay using Annexin V. Our current goal is to determine the benefits of Wnt-pathway manipulation in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.
Staff: Dr. Kran Suknuntha
Laboratory for neuropharmacology & pharmacology of medicinal plants
Our research interests are the neuroprotective and anticancer effects of medicinal plants. Current research is focus on the studying the underlying mechanisms of the neuroprotective and anticancer activities of the crude extracts and pure compounds extracted from the medicinal plants. In addition, the molecular modeling and computer aided drug design are carried out to study the antiaging and anticancer compounds isolated from natural products.
Staff: Dr. Somchai Yanarojana
Glia cells: inflammation and cancers
Our research interest is focused on astrocytes, the most abundant glia cells in the brain. In physiological state, astrocytes are responsible for maintaining neuronal function. After activation by neuronal injuries, infections, toxins or inflammatory cytokines, reactive astrocytes produce proinflammatory cytokines and other mediators, causing neuronal damage and neurodegenerative disorders. Our current research studies effects of heavy metals and proinflammatory cytokines on cell survival, oxidative stress and production of chemokines and matrix metalloproteinase. We aim to identify novel targets that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. We use human astrocyte cell lines as models and several techniques including MTT assay, LDH assay, dichlorofluorescein assay, real time PCR, ELISA, zymography and Western blotting. Another research interest of our laboratory is cancer pharmacology in glioma and breast cancers. Our main interest is the angiogenesis process, which is responsible for cancer survival and metastasis. Our goal is to detect prognostic markers to detect cancer progression and find lead compounds to prevent angiogenesis.
Staff: Assist. Prof. Pornpun Vivithanaporn
Drug/xenobiotic metabolism and pharmacogenetics
The current research is now focusing on drug and xenobiotic metabolism both in vitro and in vivo (human) and developing in vitro-in vivo extrapolation approach. The study includes characterization the impact of drug-drug and drug-herb interactions on drug safety and efficacy. The research also focuses on the studying genetic polymorphisms of drug-metabolizing enzymes and other genes that influence drug response and toxicity.
Staff: Dr. Porntipa Korprasertthaworn