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Cutting-edge CNSE nanobioscience research appearing on the covers of two prestigious scientific journals
Research by CNSE Associate Professor Mohamed Trebak featured in Science Signaling and Circulation Research for state-of-the-art approaches to tackling diseases like diabetes, cancer, and stroke

Watch Video Interview with Dr. Trebak

 CNSE Associate Professor
of Nanobioscience
Dr. Mohamed Trebak

Game-changing nanobioscience research conducted at SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) is gaining global recognition, serving as the impetus for a cover story in Science Signaling magazine, as well as being highlighted in Science magazine, while a separate discovery has also been featured as the cover story in Circulation Research.

CNSE Associate Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Mohamed Trebak and a team of CNSE graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, working in collaboration with scientists at Albany Medical College and Tulane University, received recognition from Science Signaling for discovering that the STIM1 protein, which is typically thought to be a sensor for calcium ions inside the cells, can also control the cytoskeleton of endothelial cells independently of its previously known functions.

Endothelial cells form the inner layer of blood vessels and make direct contact with blood flow. The control of the endothelial cells’ cytoskeleton can cause the cells in the endothelial layer to contract and shrink, creating gaps in the endothelial layer to allow movement of fluids and cells. This phenomenon, which promotes vascular leakage into the neighboring tissue, could play a major role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases ranging from inflammation and sepsis to diabetes and cancer.

Science Signaling Magazine

The findings were documented in a research article entitled, “STIM1 Controls Endothelial Barrier Function Independently of Orai1 and Ca2+ Entry,” which was featured as the cover story in the March 19 issue of Science Signaling, the foremost journal for announcing major advances related to the understanding of cell signaling. It is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world.

The editors, in conjunction with a Board of Reviewing Editors and other in-depth reviewers, selected the paper for publication based on its importance and broad interest to scientists. As part of the cover story, prominent scientists highlighted the team’s pioneering work in an accompanying perspective in the same issue of Science Signaling. Meanwhile, a research summary has also been featured in an issue of Science magazine under the “Editors’ Choice” banner.

Dr. Trebak’s research paves the way for further advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases precipitated by the behavior of the STIM1 protein, which might someday represent a promising target for drug therapies.

“This research opens a new world of possibilities. When you are armed with this knowledge, further study may allow us to modify the behavior of STIM1 so as to mitigate or modify its function within the cell for therapy purposes,” said Dr. Trebak. “For example, we might be able to inhibit angiogenesis, the process of growing new blood vessels which is required for cancer cells to proliferate, and this would effectively prevent cancer cell growth. It’s just one way in which our novel discovery could eventually lead to improved future outcomes for patients who suffer from serious diseases.”

Dr. Trebak is hopeful that this research will inspire further scientific inquiry into the exact role of STIM1 proteins related to their interactions with endothelial cells and provide a more intimate understanding of the processes involved in vascular leakage.

“There is additional molecular work that will be undertaken to fine-tune what we have found, including the study of the STIM1 protein’s exact domains that are required for this novel function,” he said. “This will help us gain a clearer picture of which pathways to specifically target so as to bring about the best outcome in the fight against these various diseases.”


Circulation Research Magazine

Concurrently, Dr. Trebak and CNSE graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, working with the Johannes Kepler University Linz Institute of Biophysics and Albany Medical Center, are featured in the March 29 issue of Circulation Research, the foremost vascular journal in the world, for their research paper entitled, “Store-Independent Orai1/3 Channels Activated by Intracrine LeukotrieneC4 : Role in Neointimal Hyperplasia.”

Highlighting the significance of this work, Circulation Research, published by the American Heart Association, not only included the research paper as its cover story, but also in its “Editorials” and “In this issue” sections. The team’s work was also chosen as the “Editor’s Pick” for its state-of-the-art approach to illuminate human disease mechanisms.

The research paper focuses on their discovery of a novel protein channel target, Orai3/Orai1 activated by leukotrieneC4, that can be used to stop neointima, or the remodeling of vessels after disease or injury. This “faulty” remodeling can cause blockages and lead to further vascular complications. By using a combination of molecular tools and surgeries, the team has shown that this newly found channel could represent a specific target for future therapy of major cardiovascular diseases.

“This groundbreaking research discovered a molecular pathway involved in the uncontrolled growth of the layer of smooth muscle which is relevant to diseases like restenosis, atherosclerosis, hypertension, stroke, and a very rare form of smooth muscle cancer that isn’t very well known, called leiomyosarcoma,” said Dr. Trebak. “Now the key is to investigate in greater detail the precise regulation of these molecules within the cells to find out what kind of hormones or neurotransmitters or growth factors can control these proteins that can lead to their upregulation or downregulation. That way we can control their activity, thus providing us with a new path toward improved therapies with fewer side effects for people who suffer from these diseases and complications.”