William P. Melega, Ph.D.
23-263 Center for Health Sciences
Positions & Affiliations:
Professor In-Residence, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology
Professor, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Member, Brain Research Institute, Molecular Pharmacology GPB Home Area
Professor, Molecular Toxicology IDP
Exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) contained in air pollution (AP) is associated with respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous system morbidity and mortality. The commonly accepted basis for these adverse health effects of chronic exposure to AP is inflammation, due to cellular oxidative stress. This stress is the result of (1) reactive oxygen generation and/or (2) the formation of covalent bonds between AP components and cellular macromolecules. Research in the lab is focused on establishing relationships between AP exposure and disease processes; chemical and biological studies are used to identify and characterize underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms. Recent studies in the lab have characterized reactive chemicals in AP that interact with cellular targets (e.g., macrophages, tumor cells) to elicit responses such as inflammation.
Prior research on biological assessments of AP has largely evaluated only the consequences of particulate matter of AP without addressing potential contributions of corresponding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contained in the vapor phase fraction of AP. Accordingly, we are now evaluating activities of VOCs for their potential to induce oxidative stress and to effect protein modifications. Ongoing studies are examining biological consequences of long-term AP exposure in terms of identifying toxicological mechanisms that may represent environmental contributions to cardiovascular and brain diseases.
1981-University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), PhD
1987-1988 Postdoctoral Scholar, Division of Nuclear Medicine, Radiological Sciences, UCLA
1989-1991 Assistant Research Neuropharmacologist, Department of Radiological Sciences, UCLA
1992-1998 Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA
1999-2007 Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA
2008-present Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA