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PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:
Jose Enrico H. Lazaro, PhD

The Molecular Toxicology Research Laboratory (TOX) was established in 2009. It develops tools to demonstrate cause-and-effect in drug studies, with the aim to improve 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.

DIAGNOSTIC METHODS

The laboratory has developed a tetra-primer amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) PCR, padlock probes, and hybridization induced aggregation for genotyping of SNP markers predictive of response to clopidogrel, a drug used in cardiovascular case management. TOX is also working on molecular methods to identify malaria infections and the effectiveness of antimalarial compounds.

Drug Discovery

TOX uses cell assays and imaging flow cytometry to screen natural compounds for activity against Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria. It uses comparative genomics and transcriptomics to determine and validate the molecular targets of the compounds.

Extremophilic bacteria from rare hyperalkaline springs are being studies as potential sources of antimalarial compounds. Genomic analysis is carried out to identify genes that may later be manipulated. TOX is also exploring local environments with the aim to isolate rare bacteria using novel methods of isolation . Such methods include encapsulation in nanoparticles and isolation chips followed by cultivation of bacteria in their native environments.