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1981 …2024

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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Kent Vrana has more than 30 years of research experience in molecular neuropharmacology.

Notably, he has been actively involved in the neuroenzymology and molecular neurobiology since he was a graduate student in 1979. Over the years, his laboratory was the first to create a full-length cDNA clone for tyrosine hydroxylase and to characterize the role of catecholamine-derived quinones in neuronal toxicity. He is currently using next-generation sequencing technologies to explore the roles of naturally-occurring sequence variants in the progression and severity of Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, he has a long history of studying the proteomics and transcriptomics of substance abuse (alcohol, cocaine and heroin).

Dr. Vrana’s laboratory was part of a team that established a new mechanism for generating embryonic stem cells. He has published widely on stem cell biology and has also patented a method for using nanoliposomal delivery of the bioactive lipid ceramide to maintain human induced pluripotent and embryonic stem cells in their undifferentiated state. More recently, he has been investigating the role of synthetic cannabinoids in colon cancer, glioblastoma and neuroblastoma.

From a technical standpoint, Dr. Vrana's laboratory has been instrumental in developing and disseminating tools for analyzing gene and protein expression, as well as characterizing normal and pathological processes.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Biochemistry, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

… → 1983

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