Igor N. Zelko, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine


502-852-8468 E-mail

Education and Training

Ph.D.: Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Chemistry


Research Interests

Multiple experimental and epidemiological studies conducted in urban centers and near hazardous waste sites indicates that elevated levels of air pollutants including volatile organic compounds are associated with increased susceptibility to the development of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Many types of air pollutants induce lung inflammation and predispose vulnerable population to chronic lung diseases through stimulation of molecular pathways linked to oxidative stress. Dr. Zelko's research interests are focused on the systemic effects of inhaled pollutants as well as the local pulmonary inflammatory processes that generate and release large quantities of free radicals. How these free radicals cause pulmonary and vascular injury predisposing affected individuals to chronic and acute diseases is the main theme of his research.


Featured Publications

Find all papers and citations via ResearchGate

  • Zelko IN, Zhu J, Roman J. Maternal undernutrition during pregnancy alters the epigenetic landscape and the expression of endothelial function genes in male progeny. Nutr Res. 2019 Jan;61:53-63. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Oct 25. PubMed PMID: 30683439; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6355254.
  • Zelko IN, Zhu J, Roman J. Role of SOD3 in silica-related lung fibrosis and pulmonary vascular remodeling. Respir Res. 2018 Nov 20;19(1):221. doi: 10.1186/s12931-018-0933-6. PubMed PMID: 30453980; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6245633.
  • Roman J, Zhu J, Ritzenthaler JD, Zelko IN. Epigenetic regulation of EC-SOD expression in aging lung fibroblasts: Role of histone acetylation. Free Radic Biol Med. 2017 Nov;112:212-223. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2017.07.028. Epub 2017 Jul 27. PubMed PMID: 28757400.
  • Zelko IN, Zhu J, Ritzenthaler JD, Roman J. Pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling in mice exposed to crystalline silica. Respir Res. 2016 Nov 28;17(1):160. PubMed PMID: 27894297; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5126840.
  • Watson WH, Burke TJ, Zelko IN, Torres-González E, Ritzenthaler JD, Roman J. Differential Regulation of the Extracellular Cysteine/Cystine Redox State (EhCySS) by Lung Fibroblasts from Young and Old Mice. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:1561305. doi: 10.1155/2016/1561305. Epub 2016 Aug 25. PubMed PMID: 27642492; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5014973.
  • Zelko IN, Folz RJ. Regulation of Oxidative Stress in Pulmonary Artery Endothelium. Modulation of Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase and NOX4 Expression Using Histone Deacetylase Class I Inhibitors. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2015 Oct;53(4):513-24. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2014-0260OC. PubMed PMID: 25749103; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5800886.
  • Stepp MW, Folz RJ, Yu J, Zelko IN. The c10orf10 gene product is a new link between oxidative stress and autophagy. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Jun;1843(6):1076-88. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Feb 14. PubMed PMID: 24530860.
  • Zelko IN, Stepp MW, Folz RJ. A bioluminescent transgenic mouse model: real-time in vivo imaging of antioxidant EC-SOD gene expression and regulation by interferon gamma. Gene. 2013 Nov 1;530(1):75-82. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2013.07.012. Epub 2013 Jul 22. PubMed PMID: 23886589.
  • Zelko IN, Stepp MW, Vorst AL, Folz RJ. Histone acetylation regulates the cell-specific and interferon-γ-inducible expression of extracellular superoxide dismutase in human pulmonary arteries. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2011 Nov;45(5):953-61. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2011-0012OC. Epub 2011 Apr 14. PubMed PMID: 21493784; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3262691.
  • Zelko IN, Folz RJ. Extracellular superoxide dismutase attenuates release of pulmonary hyaluronan from the extracellular matrix following bleomycin exposure. FEBS Lett. 2010 Jul 2;584(13):2947-52. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2010.05.025. Epub 2010 May 21. PubMed PMID: 20493858; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2892677.