Dr Peter Zalewski
|Position||Senior Lecturer - Level C|
|Telephone||+61 8 8222 7344|
QEH - Basil Hetzel Institute
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Biography/ BackgroundDr Peter Zalewski has had a major interest in the cellular biology of Zn and particularly, the development of techniques to visualize and quantify the more dynamic, labile pools of Zn and their role in the regulation of apoptosis. In 1996, he was awarded an NHMRC grant to develop zinc fluorophores that would enable measurement of labile Zn in normal and diseased cells and tissue. His group have now developed a panel of Zn fluorophores with different Zn affinities, excitation/emission wavelengths and fluorescence intensities, of which the prototype Zinquin is being used by scientists around the world to study cellular biology of Zn. His group was also the first to identify the link between labile cellular zinc and suppression of apoptosis (1993), the release of Zn from metalloproteins in apoptotic cells (1994), featuring on the cover of the journal, and the rapid activation of procaspase-3 in Zn-deficient cells (1999). These findings have since been confirmed in numerous international laboratories and the work featured in an episode of the National Science show Quantum in 1997. Dr Zalewski has written 9 reviews on Zn and apoptosis in the last few years. This particular area of his work was acknowledged in 1998 and 1999, by being a special invited speaker at closed workshops on Zn and other nutrients at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Rockville, respectively. These workshops established priorities for zinc research and health related aspects and led to the NIH Metals in Medicine Program Announcement in 2000. In 1997, he was a keynote speaker at the International Symposium of Metals in Yokahama and in 2000, co-organized a national conference QEHSM 2000: New Directions in zinc and asthma research at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He chaired the session Zinc and control of cell death for the 1st and 3rd International Conferences on Zn Signalling held in Grand Cayman 2002 and Aarhus, Denmark in 2004. In 2004 and 2008, he was awarded NHMRC project grants to study Zn in the airway epithelium and techniques to monitor it in asthmatic patients. He has also developed a rapid and sensitive fluorescence-based field assay that allows measurement of labile and total plasma Zn using Zinquin and a newly developed Zn fluorophore, respectively. This test is being adapted to measure zinc in sputum and exhaled breath condensate. In February 2007, Dr Zalewski was invited to a workshop in Bangladesh under the auspices of Harvest Plus (New York) to participate in the planning of a trial of Zn fortified rice to be given to young children with the aim of reducing morbidity due to diarrhea.
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Entry last updated: Monday, 18 Dec 2017
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