Petra Haberzettl, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine


Education and Training

  • Ph.D.: Institute of Environmental Medical Research - Heinrich-Heine University, Biochemistry
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: University of Louisville

Research Interests

Extensive epidemiological and experimental evidence indicates that obesity is a strong and robust risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Numerous studies have also reported strong associations between ambient air particulate matter (PM) and an increased CVD and T2D risk. However, the mechanism(s) by which obesity and exposure to environmental air pollutants increase the risk of T2D and CVD remain unknown. A common feature underlying these pathological states is a damaged endothelium. Endothelial health is maintained with the participation of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). The presence of CVD risk factors has been shown to decrease not only the circulating levels of EPCs, but their ability to stimulate tissue repair, as well. The number of circulating EPCs is decreased in patients with T2D. Furthermore, our previous work demonstrates that exposures to environmental air pollutions decrease the number of circulating EPCs and impair vascular VEGF signaling. Therefore, our ongoing research examines the effects of exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and volatile (e.g. acrolein) air pollutions as well as obesity on EPC levels and function, endothelial health and vascular resistance to insulin and VEGF to investigate changes leading to the progression of the vascular complications and the metabolic syndrome. Results of these studies will not only advance our understanding of the mechanisms by which environmental air pollutions and obesity affect vascular health, but could also lead to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for the treatment and management of CVDs and T2D.

Featured Publications

Find all papers and citations via ResearchGate

  • Hill BG, Rood B, Ribble A, Haberzettl P. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) inhalation-induced alterations in the plasma lipidome as promoters of vascular inflammation and insulin resistance. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2021 May 1;320(5):H1836-H1850. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00881.2020. Epub 2021 Mar 5. PMID: 33666505; PMCID: PMC8163652.
  • Singh P, O'Toole TE, Conklin DJ, Hill BG, Haberzettl P. Endothelial progenitor cells as critical mediators of environmental air pollution-induced cardiovascular toxicity. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2021 Apr 1;320(4):H1440-H1455. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00804.2020. Epub 2021 Feb 19. PMID: 33606580.
  • Abplanalp W, Haberzettl P, Bhatnagar A, Conklin DJ, O'Toole TE. Carnosine Supplementation Mitigates the Deleterious Effects of Particulate Matter Exposure in Mice. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Jul 2;8(13):e013041. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013041. Epub 2019 Jun 25. PMID: 31234700; PMCID: PMC6662354.
  • Ghosh Dastidar S, Jagatheesan G, Haberzettl P, Shah J, Hill BG, Bhatnagar A, Conklin DJ. Glutathione S-transferase P deficiency induces glucose intolerance via JNK-dependent enhancement of hepatic gluconeogenesis. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Nov 1;315(5):E1005-E1018. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00345.2017. Epub 2018 Aug 28. PMID: 30153066; PMCID: PMC6293160.
  • Haberzettl P. Circadian toxicity of environmental pollution. Inhalation of polluted air to give a precedent. Curr Opin Physiol. 2018 Oct;5:16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.cophys.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 May 24. PMID: 30931418; PMCID: PMC6438195.
  • Haberzettl P, Conklin DJ, Abplanalp WT, Bhatnagar A, O'Toole TE. Inhalation of Fine Particulate Matter Impairs Endothelial Progenitor Cell Function Via Pulmonary Oxidative Stress. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2018 Jan;38(1):131-142. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.117.309971. Epub 2017 Nov 30. PMID: 29191925; PMCID: PMC5746456.
  • Conklin DJ, Malovichko MV, Zeller I, Das TP, Krivokhizhina TV, Lynch BH, Lorkiewicz P, Agarwal A, Wickramasinghe N, Haberzettl P, Sithu SD, Shah J, O'Toole TE, Rai SN, Bhatnagar A, Srivastava S. Biomarkers of Chronic Acrolein Inhalation Exposure in Mice: Implications for Tobacco Product-Induced Toxicity. Toxicol Sci. 2017 Aug 1;158(2):263-274. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfx095. PMID: 28482051; PMCID: PMC5837482.
  • Conklin DJ, Haberzettl P, Jagatheesan G, Kong M, Hoyle GW. Role of TRPA1 in acute cardiopulmonary toxicity of inhaled acrolein. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2017 Jun 1;324:61-72. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2016.08.028. Epub 2016 Aug 31. PMID: 27592100; PMCID: PMC5332481.
  • Salabei JK, Lorkiewicz PK, Mehra P, Gibb AA, Haberzettl P, Hong KU, Wei X, Zhang X, Li Q, Wysoczynski M, Bolli R, Bhatnagar A, Hill BG. Type 2 Diabetes Dysregulates Glucose Metabolism in Cardiac Progenitor Cells. J Biol Chem. 2016 Jun 24;291(26):13634-48. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.722496. Epub 2016 May 5. PMID: 27151219; PMCID: PMC4919448.
  • Haberzettl P, O'Toole TE, Bhatnagar A, Conklin DJ. Exposure to Fine Particulate Air Pollution Causes Vascular Insulin Resistance by Inducing Pulmonary Oxidative Stress. Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Dec;124(12):1830-1839. doi: 10.1289/EHP212. Epub 2016 Apr 29. PMID: 27128347; PMCID: PMC5132639.