Jesus Araujo, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director of Environmental Cardiology
Office: CHS 43-264
Laboratory: CHS 43-254
Phone: (310) 825-3222

Postdoctoral Research Position

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interest

The main research interests of our laboratory are focused on two areas of investigation:

  1. Environmental Cardiology: We are dissecting the mechanisms by which exposure to air particulate matter promotes atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease and studying gene-environment interactions of relevance in the development of cardiovascular disease. In recent years, we have found that air pollutant chemicals such as those present in diesel exhaust particles are able to synergize with oxidized phospholipids generated within oxidized LDL, in the promotion of proatherogenic genes in vascular endothelial cells. We have also determined that inhalation of ambient ultrafine particles lead to systemic prooxidant and proinflammatory effects that result in the development of dysfunctional HDL and enhancement of atherosclerotic lesions.

  2. Biology of vascular oxidative stress: We are interested in genes and pathways of relevance in the oxidative stress generated in vascular inflammatory entities such as atherosclerosis and ischemia reperfusion. We have determined that heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protective gene and together with its transcriptional regulator Nrf2, they may play a central role in orchestrating the antioxidant defense of vascular cells. However, while HO-1 is an anti-atherogenic gene, Nrf2 promotes atherosclerosis instead partly due to the regulation of genes involved in lipid metabolism and cholesterol transport. This underscores t]he complexity of reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling in vascular cells. We are currently studying how HO-1 expression modulates various inflammatory pathways via the use of genetic and biochemical approaches.

Representative Publications

Araujo JA, Meng L, Tward A, Hancock WW, Zhai Y, Lee A, Iyer S, Buelow R, Busuttil RW, Shih DM, Lusis AJ, Kupiec-Weglinski JW. Systemic rather than local heme oxygenase-1 overexpression improves cardiac allograft outcomes in a new transgenic mouse. J Immunol 2003: 171: 1572-80.

Orozco LD, Kapturczak MH, Barajas B, Wang X, Weinstein MM, Wong J, Deshane J, Bolisetty S, Shaposhnik Z, Shih D, Agarwal A, Lusis AJ, Araujo JA. Heme oxygenase-1 expression in macrophages plays a beneficial role against atherosclerosis. Circ Res 2007; 100: 1703-11.

Gong KW, Zhao W, Li N, Barajas B, Kleinman M, Sioutas C, Horvath S, Lusis AJ, Nel A, Araujo JA. Air pollutant chemicals and oxidized lipids exhibit genome wide synergistic effects on endothelial cells. Genome Biol 2007; 8: R149.

Araujo JA, Barajas B, Kleinman M, Wang X, Bennett B, Gong KW, Navab M, Harkema J, Sioutas C, Lusis AJ, Nel A. Ambient particulate pollutants in the ultrafine range promote early atherosclerosis and systemic oxidative stress. Circ Res 2008; 102: 589-96.

Barajas B, Che N, Ying F, Rowshanrad A, Gong KW, Orozco L, Wang X, Castellani L, Reue K, Lusis AJ, Araujo JA. NF-E2 Related Factor 2 Promotes Atherosclerosis by Effects on Plasma Lipoproteins and Cholesterol Transport that Overshadow Antioxidant Protection. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2011; 31: 58-66.

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