I am a Senior Research Associate in the Departments of Plant Biology and Molecular Biology and Genetics. I am a medicinal chemist with ample experience in the field of chemical prospecting for drug development relevant to tropical infectious diseases, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer. My Laboratory of Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry has focused on the chemistry and pharmacology of plants used for medicinal purposes from around the world, and I am a pioneer in the chemistry and pharmacology of plants used by primates for self-medication in east Africa and the chemical ecology of plants used by lower animals and arthropods for defense. I have received awards from the Phytochemical Society of North America for seminal work on the ecological role and morphogenetic effect of natural products on insects, such as, the anti-juvenile hormone effect of Chrysanthemum coronarium (Asteraceae). I conduct research on the metabolic regulation of lipid biosynthesis in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, investigating the genetic regulation of its lipidome with emphasis on genes implicated in dyslipidemias such as high cholesterol. I strive to combine knowledge of their biosynthetic regulation and function with the development of potential therapies for the treatment of some of these diseases.
My Laboratory of Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry studies the changes in cell lipid biochemistry as a result of alterations in lipid metabolism due to genetic dysfunctionality resulting from cellular stress or gene mutations. These studies can help elucidate of pathologic conditions that result in dyslipidemias. Furthermore, I am interested in inositol containing lipids, such as PI3P and PI4P, which are important secondary messengers in cells whose abnormal genetic regulation can lead to forms of cancer; therefore, I study PI3P and PI4P metabolism and the genes that regulate their production. These metabolites are also implicated in disease such as diabetes, HIV-1 infection, and manic-depressive syndrome; therefore, I hope to combine knowledge of their biosynthetic regulation and function with the development of potential therapies for the treatment of some of these diseases. My laboratory also has special interest in the assessment of the therapeutic potential of natural products in the epigenetic treatment of cancer as it has been shown that small molecules can alter patterns of gene expression. I have an interest in small molecules that inhibit histone deacetylases whose dysfunctionality can lead to expression of oncogenes and repression of tumor suppressor genes; we have found coumarins and alkylamides in citrus and pepper species that act as such. Another interest is the search for more efficient AChE inhibitors that can be used in more effective treatment of memory and cognitive function loss in Alzheimer Disease by upregulation of acetylcholine levels in the Alzheimer brain; we have isolated glucosinolates in brassica species that are AChE enzyme inhibitors. And, of particular interest is the investigation of plants cited in the Native American and Amerindian ethnobotany as folk remedies in the treatment of Diabetes, a disease that has its highest incidence in these particular ethnic groups; we are currently studying Peruvian and Iroquois species used for this purpose taking a mechanism-based approach for alfa-glucosidase inhibitors to block dietary polysaccharide and starch contribution to blood sugar increase.
Rodriguez E., M. Aregullin, T. Nishida, R. Wrangham, Z. Abramkowski,A. Finlayson, and G.H.N. Towers. 1985. Thiarubrine A, a bioactive constituent of Aspilia mossambicensis(Asteraceae) consumed by wild chimpanzees.Experientia, 41(3):419.
Bowers W.S. and M. Aregullin. 1987. Discovery and identification of an antijuvenile hormone from Chrysanthemum coronarium. International Symposium on Insects. Memoirs of the Institute Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 82:51.
Freeman, F., M. Aregullin and E. Rodriguez. 1993. Naturally Occurring 1,2-Dithiins. Reviews on Heteroatom Chemistry, 9: 1.
Robles, M., M. Aregullin, J. West and E. Rodriguez. 1995. Recent Studies on the Zoopharmacognosy, Pharmacology and Neurotoxicology of Sesquiterpene Lactones. Planta Medica, 61: 199-203.
Kunze, A., M. Aregullin, E. Rodriguez and P. Proksch. 1996. Fate of the Chromene Encecalin in the Interaction of Encelia farinosa and Its Specialized Herbivore Trirhabda geminata. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 22(3): 491-498.
Kunze, A., L. Witte, M. Aregullin, E. Rodriguez and P. Proksch. 1996. Anthraquinones in the Leaf Beetle Trirhabda geminata (Chrysomalidae). Verlag Der Zeitschrift für Naturforschung, 51c: 249-251.
Louis-Jacques, J., M. Aregullin, D. Rosane, and E. Rodriguez. 1999. Chemical Ecology of Uropygial Gland Secretions of Neotropical Bird Species. Emanations, 2(1): 11-20.
Aregullin, M. and E. Rodriguez. 2000. Hydrophyllaceae inDermatologic Botany (J. Avalos and H. I. Maibach, eds.). CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton. Pp 187-199.
Pinto, J., M. Aregullin, D. Rosane, and E. Rodriguez. 2001. Chemistry and Biology of Caribbean Plants Used by the Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) in Nest Building. Emanations, 3(1): 29-32.
Bevans, N., M. Alford, F. Guanchez, M. Aregullin, E. Rodriguez. 2001. Preliminary Phytochemical Study of Two Caribbean Malvaceae Used in the Treatment of Conjunctivitis. Journal of Undergraduate Study and Independent Research, Winter (2): 20-24.
Aregullin, M., M. Gompper, E. Rodriguez. 2002 Triterpenes and a Sesquiterpene Lactone in the Resin of Trattinnickia aspera (Burseraceae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 30(2): 187-188.
Maria DeJoseph, R.S.L. Taylor, M. Baker, and M. Aregullin. 2002. Fur-rubbing Behavior of Capuchin Monkeys. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 46(6): 294-295.
Laux, Maria T., M. Aregullin, O. Golod, J.P. Berry, J.A. Flanders, and E. Rodriguez. 2002. Induction of Apoptosis in Human Breast Cancer Cells by Extracted Constituents from Flourensia cernua (Asteraceae). Revista Latinoamericana de Quimica, 30(1): 5-11.
Laux, Maria T., M. Aregullin, J.A. Flanders, J. Ketzis, and E. Rodriguez. 2003. Comparison of Three Different Cytotoxicity Assays of Flourensia cernua, Asteraceae in Human Breast Cancer in vitro. Revista Latinoamericana de Quimica, 31(3): 111-124.
Aregullin, M. and E. Rodriguez. 2003. Sesquiterpene Lactone Sequestration by the Tortoise Beetle Physonota arizonae (Cassidinae). Revista de la Sociedad Quimica de Mexico, 47(2): 143-145.
Laux, M. T., Aregullin, M. A., Berry, J. P., Flanders, J. A. and Rodriguez, E. (2004). Identification of a p53 Dependent Pathway in the Induction of Apoptosis of Human Breast Cancer Cells by the Natural Product, Resveratrol. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10 (2): 235-40.
Laux, Maria T., M. Aregullin and E. Rodriguez. 2005. Induction of Apoptosis by Selected Natural Products in v-Cbl Transformed COS and NIH 3T3 Cells. International Journal of Cancer Research 1(2): 101-105.
Aregullin, M., J. Berry and L. Cadena. 2006. Antioxidant Activity and Inhibition of Human Cancer Cells by the Herbal Product, ARCOMIG. Journal of Medical Sciences 6(2): 229-234.
Gaspar ML, Aregullin MA, Jesch SA, Henry SA. 2006. Inositol induces a profound alteration in the pattern and rate of synthesis and turnover of membrane lipids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal of Biological Chemistry 281: 22773-22785.
Lei XG, Zhu JH, McClung JP, Aregullin M, Roneker CA. 2006. Mice deficient in Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase are resistant to acetaminophen toxicity. Biochemical Journal 2006 Jul 10; [Epub ahead of print].
Maria L. Gaspar, Manuel A. Aregullin, Stephen A. Jesch, Lilia R. Nunez, Manuel Villa-Garcža, Susan A. Henry. 2006. The Emergence of Yeast Lipidomics. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 14 July 2006.
The courses I teach in the Department of Plant Biology and the Weill Cornell Medical School focus on strategies and methodologies in drug discovery, chemical prospecting for new therapeutic leads in nature ( with emphasis in plants as sources of chemicals). Also, the use of herbal supplements in complementary and integrative medicine and the possible adverse drug-herbal interactions. In summary, the distribution, chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of natural products in the context of medicinal chemistry are core components of lectures in these courses.
Research assessing the chemical quality of lecithin derived from eggs produced in New York state. The assessment will determine its suitability for use by nutriceutical, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. This requires working in close collaboration with egg producers in New York state to access production samples for evaluation and actively exchange information and share results and progress reports.