Barbara Wegiel, PhD, DSc

Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School


 

Research Group

Giacomo Canesin, PhD
Reeham Choudhury
Eva Csizmadia, MSc
Andreas Hedblom, PhD
Seyed Mahdi Hejazi, PharmD, MSc

Research Focus

My research focuses on how the metabolites such as heme or bile pigments regulate innate inflammatory responses during organ injury and carcinogenesis. This work has implications for understanding novel targets and potential therapeutics for treatment of cancer and beyond. Working with others at BIDMC, I am developing anti-cancer molecules that target cell cycle progression and the tumor microenvironment.

Specifically, my laboratory dissects the roles of innate immune cells (i.e., myeloid cells) in stress responses. My interest lies in regulatory mechanisms related to the heme biology and other immunometabolic genes (i.e., LDH-A) in tumor evolution and cancer therapy. The metabolic pathway of heme degradation is a critical regulator of inflammation and tumor growth. Much of my efforts have been directed towards understanding how the enzymes involved in heme degradation (biliverdin reductase/BVR and heme oxygenase-1/HO-1) and the products (carbon monoxide, biliverdin/bilirubin, iron) control metabolism and gene regulation in both immune and cancer cells.  

Accomplishments 2016-2017

  • Cover of July 2017 issue of Cancer Research (Seth P, Csizmadia E, Hedblom A, Vuerich M, Xie H, Li M, Longhi MS, Wegiel B. Deletion of lactate dehydrogenase-A in myeloid cells triggers antitumor immunity. Cancer Res 2017;77(13)3632-3643.)
  • Ad-hoc Reviewer of Polish National Academy grants, NIH, Harvard Catalyst
  • Member of American Heart Association, American Association for Cancer Research, BIDMC Cancer Research Institute and DF/HCC
  • Honorary Lecturer in Molecular Oncology, Aston University, UK

Teaching, Training, and Education

During the last two years, I have been a supervisor for three post-doctoral fellows, two summer students and one intern. I am involved in teaching experimental design, molecular and biochemical techniques, data acquisition and analysis, as well as manuscript preparation.

Selected Research Support

Role of biliverdin reductase during sterile inflammation in the liver; NIH, 2016-2020; PI: Barbara Wegiel, PhD, MSc

Fibroids and endometriosis program; BIDMC Chief Academic Office funds, 2016-2019; PI: Barbara Wegiel, PhD, MSc 

Selected Publications

Nemeth Z, Li M, Seth P, Csizmadia E, Dome B, Johansson M, Persson J, Otterbein LE, Wegiel B. Heme oxygenase-1 in macrophages controls prostate cancer progression. Oncotarget 2015;6(32):33675-88.

Nemeth Z, Csizmadia E, Vikstrom L, Li M, Bisht K, Feizi A, Otterbein S, Zuckerbraun B, Costa D, Pandolfi PP, Fillinger J, Döme B, Otterbein LE, Wegiel B. Alterations of tumor microenvironment by carbon monoxide impedes lung cancer growth. Oncotarget 2016;7(17):23919-32.

Wegiel B, Wang Y, Li M, Jernigan F, Sun L. Novel indolyl-chalcones target stathmin to induce cancer cell death. Cell Cycle 2016;15(9):1288-94.

Wang Y, Hedblom, Koerner SF, Li M, Jernigan FE, Wegiel B, Sun L. Novel synthetic chalcones induce apoptosis in the A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells harboring a KRAS mutation. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2016;26(23):5703-5706.

Seth P, Csizmadia E, Hedblom A, Vuerich M, Xie H, Li M, Longhi MS, Wegiel B. Deletion of lactate dehydrogenase-A in myeloid cells triggers antitumor immunity. Cancer Res 2017;77(13)3632-3643.)