Victoria Blaho, Ph.D.

Victoria Blaho's Research Focus

Immune Disorders, Leukemia/Lymphoma, Inflammatory/Autoimmune Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology
Apoptosis and Cell Death, Cell Signaling, Hematopoiesis, Innate Immunity, Adaptive Immunity, G-Protein Coupled Receptors, Inflammation
Hematopoietic System, Immune System and Inflammation, Vasculature
Human Adult/Somatic Stem Cells, Mouse Somatic Stem Cells, Mouse, Primary Cells
Cell Biology, Confocal Microscopy, Fluorescence Microscopy, Gene Expression, Lipid Bilayers, Mass Spectrometry, Cellular and Molecular Imaging

The lipid sphingosine 1 phosphate (S1P) is found in high levels in the blood and lymph and is primarily carried by the protein ApoM, found on HDL. S1P can affect the cardiovascular, nervous, and immune systems via interaction with cell surface-expressed receptors, S1P1-5. My work is determining how changing S1P carrier or receptor expression and signaling can affect cells of the immune system, particularly in the bone marrow, and how this alters their ability to respond to stress or infection.

Victoria Blaho's Bio

Dr. Blaho began her research career focused on how bioactive lipids contribute to the innate immune response against bacterial infection, characterizing roles for eicosanoids in the generation and resolution of Lyme arthritis pathology. The wild diversity of lipid species led Dr. Blaho to Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City to pursue postdoctoral training in the field of sphingolipids, particularly sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), and its receptors. Advancing to Instructor at Weill Cornell and later, Research Assistant Professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys, Dr. Blaho continued her research in lipid chaperones and receptor signaling, with an emphasis on cell-type differential effects on hematopoiesis and immunity in response to cell stressors. In August of 2019, Dr. Blaho joined the faculty at the Institute as an Assistant Professor in the Immunity and Pathogenesis program.


Why do you do what you do?

The immune system has the power to protect us from invading pathogens and cancer or to initiate a “self-destruct” sequence that consumes us with inflammation and autoimmunity. It is fascinating to me that a simple ubiquitous fat molecule like S1P can control the birth and destiny of immune cells.



2014-2016: Instructor, Weill Cornell Medicine, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Neuroscience
2009-2014: Post-doctoral training, Weill Cornell Medicine, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
2007-2009: Post-doctoral training, University of Missouri, Columbia, Veterinary Pathobiology
2007: Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology - B.S.


Funding awards and collaborative grants

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute R01
American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant
2014-15: Leon Levy Neuroscience Foundation Grant
2015: Foundation LeDucq SphingoNet Young Investigator Grant
2009-12: National Cancer Institute Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein Post-doctoral Fellowship


Honors and recognition

2017: British Journal of Pharmacology Lecture: FASEB Summer Research Conference on Lysophospholipids and Related Mediators – from bench to clinic.
2014: Leon Levy Foundation Neuroscience Fellow
2010: Keystone Scholarship, Bioactive Lipids: Biochemistry and Diseases
2008: Keystone Scholarship, Eicosanoids and Other Mediators of Chronic Inflammation
2007: Young Investigator Award in Inflammation, Eicosanoid Research Foundation
2004: National Academy of Sciences Christine Mirzayan Policy Fellow, Institute of Medicine Board on Health Sciences Policy



HDL-bound sphingosine-1-phosphate restrains lymphopoiesis and neuroinflammation.

Blaho VA, Galvani S, Engelbrecht E, Liu C, Swendeman SL, Kono M, Proia RL, Steinman L, Han MH, Hla T

Nature 2015 Jul 16 ;523(7560):342-6

HDL-bound sphingosine 1-phosphate acts as a biased agonist for the endothelial cell receptor S1P1 to limit vascular inflammation.

Galvani S, Sanson M, Blaho VA, Swendeman SL, Obinata H, Conger H, Dahlbäck B, Kono M, Proia RL, Smith JD, Hla T

Sci Signal 2015 Aug 11 ;8(389):ra79

An update on the biology of sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors.

Blaho VA, Hla T

J Lipid Res 2014 Aug ;55(8):1596-608

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Retraction: Obesity Is Associated With Inflammation and Elevated Aromatase Expression in the Mouse Mammary Gland.

Subbaramaiah K, Howe LR, Bhardwaj P, Du B, Gravaghi C, Yantiss RK, Zhou XK, Blaho VA, Hla T, Yang P, Kopelovich L, Hudis CA, Dannenberg AJ

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2022 Jun 2 ;15(6):413

LPA(1/3) overactivation induces neonatal posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus through ependymal loss and ciliary dysfunction.

Lummis NC, Sánchez-Pavón P, Kennedy G, Frantz AJ, Kihara Y, Blaho VA, Chun J

Sci Adv 2019 Oct ;5(10):eaax2011

Identification of ApoA4 as a sphingosine 1-phosphate chaperone in ApoM- and albumin-deficient mice.

Obinata H, Kuo A, Wada Y, Swendeman S, Liu CH, Blaho VA, Nagumo R, Satoh K, Izumi T, Hla T

J Lipid Res 2019 Nov ;60(11):1912-1921

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