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PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:
Jose Enrico H. Lazaro, PhDJHL
The Molecular Toxicology Research Laboratory was established in 2009. It develops tools to demonstrate cause-and-effect in drug studies, with the aim to improving safety and efficacity.

The laboratory assesses genetic markers of effects following exposure to xenobiotics, evaluates genetic markers of risk and response, and develops methods for rapid, accurate, and economic assessment of risk and efficacy using genotyping, expression analysis, and bioassay.

The Development of PCR-based Methods for Diagnosis and Drug Response
The laboratory has developed and optimized methods including Tetra-primer amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) PCR, high resolution melting (HRM) analysis, padlock probes, and rolling circle amplification for genotyping of SNP markers predictive of response to clopidogrel (Plavix®), a drug commonly indicated in cardiovascular cases and for which non-response in patients could result in death.

MTRL is also working on the development of methods to detect dengue and to identify malarial infections using real-time PCR.

Drug Discovery
Extremophilic bacteria from rare hyperalkaline springs are studied as potential sources of antimalarial and antibacterial compounds. Genomic analysis is carried out on these bacteria to identify genes that may later be manipulated.

Combinations of standard antimalarial drugs and novel antibiotics against in vitro cultures of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are being studied for their effects at the molecular level.

The lab also maintains a nude mouse facility to test in vivo tumor reduction and pharmacokinetics of immunoliposomes containing doxorubicin, an anticancer drug.