Wolfgang Zacharias, Ph.D.


Philipps-University Marburg, Germany; chemistry 1968-1974
Diplom-Chemiker (diploma in chemistry); 1974
Graduate student in biochemistry; Philipps-University Marburg, Germany; 1974-1980
Ph.D., Biochemistry; Philipps-University Marburg, Germany; 1980
Research Associate, Department. of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin; 1980-1982
Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham; 1982-1985

Curriculum Vitae

Current Positions:

Professor (0.4 FTE), Department of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Member, Experimental Therapeutics & Diagnostics Program, James Graham Brown Cancer Center
Director, University of Louisville Genomics Facility

Contact Information

Clinical Translational Research Building, Room 218
University of Louisville
505 Hancock St.
Louisville, KY 40202, USA
Phone 502-852-2579
Fax 502-852-7979
Email: w0zach01@louisville.edu

Research Description

My lab has been conducting research on molecular and cellular aspects of cancer progression for over eighteen years, resulting in numerous publications in the field of cancer molecular biology. For several years, my lab investigated the contributions of lysosome-mediated cell death pathways in oral and lung cancer cells. We focused on the role of lysosomal cathepsin proteases as bot pro- and anti-apoptotic factors in cancer progression.

More recently, my lab has been determining differential effects of combusted versus non-combusted tobacco products on human oral cavity cells in order to evaluate any perceived reduced-harm effects of smokeless tobacco and nicotine replacement products.

In addition, I have been directing the UofL Genomics Facility for 17 years, resulting in numerous collaborative and consultation functions with other investigators in the J.G. Brown Cancer Center and the UofL Campus. Under my leadership, this Service Center developed from a one-platform Affymetrix Microarray Core to a multi-platform Institution-wide Service Center that includes services on two Illumina Next Generation Sequencing platforms.

Overall, my lab has acquired a unique combination of expertise in experimental cancer research by applying molecular and functional analyses, gene expression profiling, genomic and transcriptome sequencing, and phenotypic characterizations of tumor cells, applied to cell culture and tissue models.

Literature cited:

  1. Vigneswaran N, Wu J, Nagathihalli NS, Adler-Storthz K, Zacharias W.  Differential susceptibility of metastatic and primary oral cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.  International Journal of Oncology 2005 Jan;26(1):103-12.  PMID: 15586230.
  2. Wickramasinghe N, Nagaraj NS, Vigneswaran N, Zacharias W.  Cathepsin B promotes both motility and invasiveness of oral carcinoma cells.  Archives of Biochemistry & Biophysics 2005Apr 1;436(1):187-95.  PMID: 15752724. 
  3. Wickramasinghe N, Banerjee K, Nagaraj SN, Vigneswaran N, Zacharias W.  Hypoxia alters cathepsin/inhibitor profiles in oral carcinoma cell lines.  Anticancer Research 2005 Jul-Aug;25(4):2841-9.  PMID: 16080536.  [ http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/25/4/2841.long ]
  4. Vigneswaran N, Wu J, Nagaraj N, James R, Zeeuwen PLJM, Zacharias W.  Silencing of cystatin M in oral cancer cells by siRNA increases their cysteine protease and legumain activities, cell proliferation and in vitro invasion.  Life Sciences 2006 Jan 18;78(8):898-907.  PMID: 16150465.
  5. Vigneswaran N, Beckers S, Waigel S, Mensah J, Wu J, Bouquot J, Sacks PG, Zacharias W.  Increased EMMPRIN (CD 147) expression during oral carcinogenesis.  Experimental & Molecular Pathology 2006 Apr;80(2):147-59.  PMID: 16310185.
  6. Nagaraj NS, Vigneswaran N, Zacharias W.  Cathepsin B mediates TRAIL-induced apoptosis in oral cancer cells.  Journal of Cancer Research & Clinical Oncology 2006 Mar;132(3):171-83.  PMID: 16362335.  PMCID: PMC5774671.
  7. Rao X-M, Zheng X, Waigel S, Zacharias W, McMasters KM, Zhou HS.  Gene expression profiles of normal human lung cells affected by adenoviral E1B.  Virology 2006 Jul 5;350(2):418-28.  PMID: 16542696.  [ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042682206000985?via%3Dihub ]
  8. Nagaraj NS, Beckers S, Mensah J, Waigel S, Vigneswaran N, Zacharias W.  Cigarette smoke condensate induced cytochromes P450 and aldo-keto reductases in oral cancer cells. Toxicology Letters 2006 Aug 20;165(2):182-94.  PMID: 16713138.  PMCID: PMC5774676.
  9. Nagaraj NS, Vigneswaran N, Zacharias W.  Hypoxia inhibits TRAIL-induced tumor cell apoptosis: involvement of lysosomal cathepsins.  Apoptosis 2007 Jan;12(1):125-39.  PMID: 17136492.  PMCID: PMC5774619.
  10. Nagaraj NS, Zacharias W.  Cigarette smoke condensate increases cathepsin-mediated invasion in oral carcinoma cells.  Toxicology Letters 2007 Apr 25;170(2):134-45.  PMID: 17399918.  PMCID: PMC1952681.
  11. Vigneswaran N, Baucum DC, Wu J, Lou Y, Bouquot J, Muller S, Zacharias W.  Repression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) but not its receptors during oral cancer progression.  BMC Cancer 2007 Jun 25;7:108.  PMID: 17592646.  PMCID: PMC1924860.
  12. Vigneswaran N, Wu J, Song A, Annapragada A, Zacharias W.  Hypoxia-induced autophagic response is associated with aggressive phenotype and elevated incidence of metastasis in orthototic immunocompetent murine models of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC).  Experimental & Molecular Pathology 2011 Apr;90(2):215-25.  PMID: 21236253.  PMCID: PMC3057178.
  13. SunXS, Bandura-Morgan L, Zacharias W.  Induction of apoptosis in lung cancer cells by TRAIL and L-leucyl-L-leucine methyl ester. Journal of Cancer Therapy 2011;2(3):418-30.  doi: 10.4236/jct.2011.23057
  14. Gao H, Prasad GL, Zacharias W.  Differential cell-specific cytotoxic responses of oral cavity cells to tobacco preparations. Toxicology In Vitro 2013 Feb;27(1):282-91.  PMID: 22960471.
  15. Xiao D, Ohlendorf J, ChenY, Taylor, D, Rai S, Waigel S, Zacharias W, Hao H, McMasters KM.  Identifying mRNA, microRNA and protein profiles of melanoma exosomes.  PLoS One 2012;7(10):e46874.  PMID: 23056502.  PMCID: PMC3467276.
  16. Gao H, Prasad GL, Zacharias W.  Combusted but not smokeless tobacco products cause DNA damage in oral cavity cells.  Environmental Pharmacology & Toxicology 2014 May;37(3):1079-89.  PMID: 24780532.
  17. ScherzerM, Waigel S, Donninger H, Arumugam V, Zacharias W, Clark G, Siskind LS, Soucy P, Beverly L.  Fibroblast-derived extracellular matrices: An alternative cell culture system that increases metastatic cellular properties.  PLoS One 2015 Sep 15;10(9):e0138065.  PMID: 26371754.  PMCID: PMC4570771.
  18. Hao H, Xiao D, Pan J, Qu J, Egger M, Waigel S, Sanders M, Zacharias W, Rai S, McMasters K.  Sentinel lymph node genes to predict prognosis in node-positive melanoma patients.  Annals of Surgical Oncology 2017Jan;24(1):108-16.  PMID: 27663566.
  19. Heo J, Lim J, Lee S, Jeong J, Kang H, Kim H, Kang JW, Yu HY, Jeong EM, Kim K, Kucia M, Waigel SJ, Zacharias W, Chen Y, Kim I-G, Ratajczak MZ, Shin D-M.  Sirt1 regulates epigenetic stability and differentiation potential of embryonic stem cells by antagonizing Dnmt3l.  Cell Reports 2017 Feb 21;18(8):1930-45.  PMID: 28228259.  [ https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.01.074 ]
  20. Woo S, Gao H, Henderson D, Zacharias W, Liu G, Tran QT, Prasad GL.  AKR1C1 as a biomarker for differentiating the biological effects of combustible from non-combustible tobacco products.  Genes (Basel) 2017 May 3;8(5):132.  PMID: 28467356.  PMCID: PMC5448006.

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