Free Radical Biology
It is now well established that free radicals (e.g., superoxide, hydroxyl radical, nitric oxide) and other reactive species (e.g., hydrogen peroxide, singlet oxygen, peroxynitrite, hypochlorous acid) contribute to the pathology of many disorders including atherogenesis, neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation, and cancer. At relatively low levels, some of these oxidants also function as important signaling molecules, inducing responses such as blood vessel relaxation, cell proliferation or apoptotic cell death. A number of research programs in this exciting field are ongoing at MCW. Specific areas of investigation include: (i) mechanism of nitric oxide biosynthesis, regulation, and effector action; (ii) mechanisms of lipid oxidation and cytoprotection from such products; (iii) lipid peroxide formation, turnover, and signaling activity; (iv) protective mechanisms of natural and synthetic antioxidants; and (v) the role of superoxide and other free radicals in neurodegenerative diseases. Research in these areas is highly interactive with students, post-docs and faculty exchanging ideas through informal discussions and formal journal clubs organized by the MCW Free Radical Research Center.