The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Internal Medicine
One of my lab’s ongoing interests is the mammalian cytochrome b561 family of proteins. These are integral membrane hemoproteins that catalyze transmembrane transfer of an electron donated by ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Our major focus at present is on CYBRD1, the b561 family member that is found in red blood cell membranes. Red cell CYBRD1 exports reducing equivalents from cytoplasmic ascorbate to recycle oxidized ascorbate in the blood plasma. This maintains blood antioxidant defenses and supports effective delivery of the multifunction vitamin to peripheral tissues.
Patients with sickle cell disease often have low levels of plasma ascorbate and experience oxidative stress. We are collaborating with several UT hematologists in clinical studies to identify disruptions in the red cell CYBRD1 / ascorbate system in sickle patients, both to understand the pathological processes and to devise effective treatments.
A tutorial rotation in my lab offers the opportunity to carry out a self-contained, biochemistry-focused, mini-project within the overall lab studies, developing a hypothesis, designing and carrying out experiments, working up the data, and interpreting the results.
Education & Training
PhD, Rice University, 1978
Blood redox homeostasis