The broad research interests of Petras P. Dzeja, Ph.D., are in the emerging areas of biomedical sciences. Dr. Dzeja's topics of study include cardiovascular metabolomics, system bioenergetics, phosphotransfer enzymes and networks, metabolic signaling circuits, and metabolic sensors in health and disease.
- Adenylate kinase biology, energetic and metabolic signaling role. Since the discovery of the adenylate kinase (AK) energy transfer shuttle and metabolic signal ligand conduction system, a growing body of evidence indicates that the AK system represents a major cellular metabolic monitoring hub. AK-mediated AMP signaling through metabolic enzymes and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is central to cell energetics, body energy sensing, developmental processes and regulation of diverse functions such as blood flow, appetite control and hibernation. Mutations in AK isoforms are associated with a number of human diseases.
- Phosphotransfer networks and system bioenergetics. Dr. Dzeja's proposed phosphotransfer network concept integrates AK, creatine kinase, and glycolytic or glycogenolytic energy transfer and signal communication systems. This network provides a framework in modern systems bioenergetics, where abnormalities in the dynamics of cellular phosphotransfer networks and mitochondrial, glycolytic and glycogen metabolism are all associated with human diseases.
- Phosphometabolomics and fluxomics. Dr. Dzeja developed a novel phosphometabolomic technology for measurements of cellular phosphotransfer dynamics and phosphometabolite profiling to understand disease mechanisms and discover new biomarkers for diagnostics.
- Bioenergetics and metabolomics of failing hearts and cardioprotection. Stemming from pioneering studies that reveal cumulative defects in different steps of heart energetics system, including phosphotansfer deficit, mitochondrial and metabolic signaling abnormalities leading to heart failure, and pluripotent vasopeptidase inhibitors that can protect energetic enzymes.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Dzeja is using transcardiac metabolomics and has developed new stable isotope technologies to assist heart failure diagnostics and patient selection for cardiac resynchronization therapy and to follow treatment efficacy.
Through his research on the ligand-induced protection of enzymes from oxidative and proteolytic damage, Dr. Dzeja expects to reduce myocardial injury and prevent developing heart failure in patients.
Dr. Dzeja is applying system bioenergetics and metabolomics approaches to track and facilitate stem cell cardiac differentiation by dissecting the significance of metabolic circuits and mitochondrial networks in cardiogenesis and cardiac regeneration. These mechanisms will allow a better understanding of heart failure and cardiac resynchronization therapy and regenerative medicine.
- Academic editor, PLOS One, 2010-present