Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine

Faculty Profiles

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photo Maria G. Kapetanaki, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Medicine


Phone: 412-624-7426

Office: Starzl Biomedical Science Tower, E1200
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-624-7426
Administrative Assistant:
Carla Monzo
Phone: 412-383-5853
Fax: 412-648-5980
Education and Training
B.Sc., Biology, University of Athens, 1994
M.Sc., Biological Sciences, University of Crete, 1997
PhD, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine, University of Crete, 2000
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2003
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh, 2008
Research Interest
Dr. Kapetanaki is a molecular biologist with a long-standing interest in the regulation of gene expression in human diseases affecting normal lung function. Her research focuses on identifying the molecular pathways underlying pulmonary hypertension, which is a common complication in the sickle cell patient population. Her current projects include the study of the regulatory mechanism of heme-induced Placenta growth Factor (PlGF) and the role of heme-induced genes in hematopoietic cells. More specifically, she investigates the role of oxidant response pathways, especially the Nrf-2 transcription factor and its upstream regulators. For her research she employs cell culture and murine models where she applies techniques as gene silencing, gene editing and drug treatment to describe the steps of heme activation.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Rojas, M, Moral, AL, Kapetanaki, M, Weathington, N, Gladwin, M, Eickelberg, O. Aging and Lung Disease. Clinical Impact and Cellular and Molecular Pathways. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2015; Dec;12(12): s222-7.
Bustos, ML, Huleihel, L, Kapetanaki, MG, Lino-Cardenas, CL, Mroz, L, Ellis, BM, McVerry, BJ, Richards, TJ, Kaminski, N, Cerdenes, N, Moral, AL, Rojas, M. Aging mesenchymal stem cells fail to protect because of impaired migration and antiinflammatory response. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014; Apr 1;189(7): 787-98.
Kapetanaki, MG, Mora, AL, Rojas, M. Influence of age on wound healing and fibrosis. J Pathol. 2013; Jan;229(2): 310-22.
Rabinovich, EI, Kapetanaki, MG, Steinfeld, I, Gibson, KF, Pandit, KV, Yu, G, Yakhini, Z, Kaminski, N. Global methylation patterns in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. PLoS One. 2012; 7(4): e33770.
Lan, L, Nakajima, S, Kapetanaki, MG, Hsieh, CL, Fagerburg, M, Thickman, K, Rodriguez-Collazo, P, Leuba, SH, Levine, AS, Rapic-Otrin, V. Monoubiquitinated histone H2A destabilizes photolesion-containing nucleosomes with concomitant release of UV-damaged DNA-binding protein E3 ligase. J Biol Chem. 2012; Apr 6;287(15): 12036-49.
Gupta, N, Krasnodembskaya, A, Kapetanaki, M, Mouded, M, Tan, X, Serikov, V, Matthay, MA. Mesenchymal stem cells enhance survival and bacterial clearance in murine Escherichia coli pneumonia. Thorax. 2012; Jun;67(6): 533-9.
Guerrero-Santoro, J, Kapetanaki, MG, Hsieh, CL, Gorbachinsky, I, Levine, AS, Rapic-Otrin, V. The cullin 4B-based UV-damaged DNA-binding protein ligase binds to UV-damaged chromatin and ubiquitinates histone H2A. Cancer Res. 2008; Jul 1;68(13): 5014-22.
Kapetanaki, MG, Guerro-Santoro, J, Bisi, DC, Hsieh, CL, Rapic-Otrin, V, Levine, AS. The DDB1-CUL4ADDB2 ubiquitin ligase is deficient in xeroderma pigmentosum group E and targets histone H2A at UV-damaged DNA sites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2006; Feb 21;103(8): 2588-93.
Kapetanaki, MG, Loukeris, TG, Livadaras, I, Savakis, C. High frequencies of Minos transposon mobilization are obtained in insects by using in vitro synthesized mRNA as a source of transposase. Nucleic Acids Res. 2002; Aug 1;30(15): 3333-40.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Aging of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Missing Link in IPF
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute
Grant Number: R01 HL123766
Start Year: 2015
End Year: 2019