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

  • Ribble A, Hellmann J, Conklin DJ, Bhatnagar A, Haberzettl P. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)-induced pulmonary oxidative stress contributes to increases in glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in a mouse model of circadian dyssynchrony. Sci Total Environ. 2023 Jun 15;877:162934. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162934. Epub 2023 Mar 18. PMID: 36934930; PMCID: PMC10164116.
  • Kurlawala Z, Singh P, Hill BG, Haberzettl P. Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)-Induced Pulmonary Oxidative Stress Contributes to Changes in the Plasma Lipidome and Liver Transcriptome in Mice. Toxicol Sci. 2023 Mar 1;192(2):209–22. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfad020. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36857595; PMCID: PMC10109534.
  • Haberzettl P. Reply to Della Guardia and Shin. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2022 Jun 1;322(6):H973-H974. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00186.2022. PMID: 35481792.
  • Haberzettl P, Jin L, Riggs DW, Zhao J, O'Toole TE, Conklin DJ. Fine particulate matter air pollution and aortic perivascular adipose tissue: Oxidative stress, leptin, and vascular dysfunction. Physiol Rep. 2021 Aug;9(15):e14980. doi: 10.14814/phy2.14980. PMID: 34327871; PMCID: PMC8322754.
  • Li X, Haberzettl P, Conklin DJ, Bhatnagar A, Rouchka EC, Zhang M, O'Toole TE. Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution Alters mRNA and miRNA Expression in Bone Marrow-Derived Endothelial Progenitor Cells from Mice. Genes (Basel). 2021 Jul 10;12(7):1058. doi: 10.3390/genes12071058. PMID: 34356074; PMCID: PMC8307414.
  • 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; PMCID: PMC8260385.
  • 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.