Victoria Blaho's Research Focus
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 SBP, 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 SBP Medical Discovery 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
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
Blaho VA, Hla T
J Lipid Res 2014 Aug ;55(8):1596-608
Leukotriene B4 receptor BLT1 signaling is critical for neutrophil apoptosis and resolution of experimental Lyme arthritis.
Hilliard KA, Blaho VA, Jackson CD, Brown CR
FASEB J 2020 Feb ;34(2):2840-2852
LPA<sub>1/3</sub> 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
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
Abrogation of Endogenous Glycolipid Antigen Presentation on Myelin-Laden Macrophages by D-Sphingosine Ameliorates the Pathogenesis of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis.
Ban Y, Dong W, Zhang L, Zhou T, Altiti AS, Ali K, Mootoo DR, Blaho VA, Hla T, Ren Y, Ma X
Front Immunol 2019 ;10:404
Fingolimod: Lessons Learned and New Opportunities for Treating Multiple Sclerosis and Other Disorders.
Chun J, Kihara Y, Jonnalagadda D, Blaho VA
Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 2019 Jan 6 ;59:149-170
Blaho VA, Chun J
Trends Pharmacol Sci 2018 Nov ;39(11):953-966