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John J. LaPres

John J. LaPres

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Graduate Program Director, Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences, Institute for Integrative Toxicology


Research Interests:
The LaPres laboratory is focused on the PAS superfamily of transcription factors.  PAS proteins (named for the first identified members, Per, ARNT and Sim) are transcription factors that play a central role in sensing and coping with changes in various environmental cues.  The goal of this research is to completely understand the signaling cascades of certain PAS proteins and how they mediate their pleiotropic effects on biological systems.  The work focuses on two PAS proteins in particular, the hypoxia inducible factor 1a (HIF1a) and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and the role they play in modulating the toxicity of metals and dioxins, respectively. The laboratory is trying to identify novel proteins and signaling cascades that might influence these two transcription factors and therefore, control their ability to mediate normal biological responses and aberrant signaling leading to toxicity.  For example, we have developed several mouse models to study the role of HIF1a in mediating metal-induced lung injury.  In collaboration with Drs. Jack Harkema and James Wagner (IIT affiliated faculty), we are now trying to understand the broader role of HIFs in establishing and maintaining innate immunity in the lung and the impact these processes have on allergic airway diseases, such as asthma.  The laboratory uses a wide range of experimental techniques, including proteomic, metabolomic and genomic technology, to gain novel insights into PAS protein signaling mechanisms and to ascertain possible mechanisms for their complex biological responses.

Educational Background:
University of Michigan, B.S., Chemistry, 1983-1988
University of Michigan, School of Education, Secondary Teaching Certificate, 1988-1989
Northwestern University, Integrated Graduate Program, Ph.D., Pharmacology, 1991-1997

Selected Professional Activities:
Director of the BioMolecular Science Gateway; NRSA Recipient; Environmental Science Training Grant Fellowship; NIH Training Grant Fellowship. Dr. LaPres is a faculty trainer for the NIEHS training grant.

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LaPres Laboratory

Laboratory Trainees: