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Agudelo, Marisela

Title: Vice Chair, Department of Immunology and Nano-Medicine, Assistant Professor

Office: AHC1 419-A; Lab AHC1 433

Phone: 305-348-6503; 305-348-4495


Department(s): Immunology and Nano-Medicine

Dr. Agudelo is an early career investigator who completed her graduate training in the field of immunology studying cannabinoid-induced immune dysregulation under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Klein at the University of South Florida. Dr. Agudelo joined FIU in 2009 to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Madhavan Nair, where she gained experience on the neuro-immunological mechanisms of substance abuse and HIV disease progression. Currently, Dr. Agudelo is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and principal investigator of NIAAA funded project (R00AA021264). Ongoing research in Dr. Agudelo’s laboratory aims to elucidate the effects of alcohol abuse on human dendritic cells which are pivotal antigen presenting cells of the innate immune system.  Overall, the major goal of this project is to study the epigenetic mechanisms of alcohol effects on dendritic cells and the role of histone deacetylases and cannabinoid genes in the alcohol-induced immuno-regulatory process in a cohort of alcohol abusers from South Florida. Dr. Agudelo’s lab team is currently composed of a graduate student, a postdoctoral fellow, laboratory technician, a NIGMS RISE fellow, and two undergraduate research assistants. In addition, the lab provides training to minority students and host state of the art single cell imaging flow cytometry (FlowSight®) equipment, which has the capability of integrating flow cytometry and microscopy. Additional research initiatives and collaborations in Dr. Agudelo’s lab are highlighted below:

  • Collaboration and pilot project funded by the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC) to study the regulation of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid levels, and epigenetic mechanisms underlying HIV infection and heavy alcohol abuse.
  • Collaboration as research co-director of the Florida Science Training and Research (STAR) Fellowship, which aims to retain underrepresented in medicine undergraduate students by supporting and involving them in research, clinical, and community experiences. [CPIMP151112 (PI: Cheryl Brewster)]
  • Collaboration as co-investigator of the NIDA funded project to develop a nano-carrier to deliver methanandamide across the BBB to block cannabinoid induced effects in HIV infection and eventually eradicate HIV reservoirs. [R01DA040537 (PI: Nair)].

Research Interests

Dr. Agudelo's research studies aim to elucidate the consequences of alcohol and cannabinoid abuse on the immune and central nervous systems. Below is an overview:

Alcohol Abuse: According to NIAAA, approximately 18 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Although it is well known that alcohol interferes with immune functions; and as a result, alcoholics may be more susceptible to infections, to date, one of the least appreciated medical consequences of AUDs is their effects on the immune system leading to a growing demand for more effective treatments and research to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of alcohol-induced immune modulation. Therefore, Dr. Agudelo's research aims to elucidate the effects of alcohol abuse on human dendritic cells which are pivotal antigen presenting cells of the innate immune system.  Overall, the major goal of this project is to study the epigenetic mechanisms of alcohol effects on the immune system and the role of histone deacetylases and cannabinoid genes in the alcohol-induced immunoregulatory process. This research project is supported by NIAAA, R00AA021264.

Cannabinoid Abuse: In recent years, many adolescents have been abusing a popular alternative to marijuana called K2/spice, which is made of a mixture of synthetic cannabinoids. Many of the adverse effects of these compounds are due to their actions on the central nervous system (CNS); however, little is known about the neurological and inflammatory effects of abusing these synthetic compounds; therefore, Dr. Agudelo's research aims to elucidate the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on immune and CNS cells and elucidate how these compounds affect neuro-immune interactions and the blood brain barrier.

Recent Publications

  1. Agudelo, M., Figueroa, G., Parira, T., Yndart, A., Muñoz, K., Atluri, V., Samikkannu, T., Nair, M.P. (2016). Profile of Class I Histone Deacetylases (HDAC) by Human Dendritic Cells after Alcohol Consumption and in vitro Alcohol Treatment and their Implication in Oxidative Stress: Role of HDAC Inhibitors Trichostatin A and Mocetinostat. PLOS One. PMID: 27249803.
  2. Figueroa, G., Parira, T., Laverde A., Casteleiro G., El-Mabhouh, A., Nair M., Agudelo, M. (2016) Characterization of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells by imaging flow cytometry: a comparison between two monocyte isolation protocols. The Journal of Visualized Experiments. PMID: 27805582.
  3. Agudelo, M., Figueroa, G., Yndart, A., Casteleiro, G., Muñoz, K., Samikkannu, T., Atluri, V., Nair, M.P. (2015). Alcohol and Cannabinoids Differentially Affect HIV Infection and Function of Human Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells (MDDC). Frontiers: Microbiology. 6:1452. PMID: 26733986.
  4. Raymond AD, Diaz P, Chevelon S, Agudelo M, Yndart-Arias A, Ding H, Kaushik A, Jayant RD, Nikkhah-Moshaie R, Roy U, Pilakka-Kanthikeel S, Nair MP. (2015). Microglia-derived HIV Nef+ exosome impairment of the blood-brain barrier is treatable by nanomedicine-based delivery of Nef peptides. J Neurovirol. PMID: 26631079.
  5. Yndart A, Kaushik A, Agudelo M, Raymond A, Atluri VS, Saxena S, Nair M. (2015). Investigation of Neuropathogenesis in HIV-1 Clade B & C Infection Associated with IL-33 and ST2 Regulation. ACS Chem Neurosci. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID:26110635
  6. Samikkannu T, Rao KV, Salam AA, Atluri VS, Kaftanovskaya EM, Agudelo M, Perez S, Yoo C, Raymond AD, Ding H, Nair MP.(2015). HIV Subtypes B and C gp120 and Methamphetamine Interaction: Dopaminergic System Implicates Differential Neuronal Toxicity. Sci Rep. PMID:26057350.
  7. Roy, U., Atluri VSR, Agudelo M, Yndart A., Huang Z, Nair M. (2015). DJ1 Expression Downregulates in Neuroblastoma Cells (SK-N-MC) Chronically Exposed to HIV-1 and Cocaine. Frontiers in Microbiology. PMID: 26284039.
  8. Roy U, Ding H, Kanthikeel SP, Raymond A, Atluri V, Yndart A, Kaftanovskaya EM, Batrakova E, Agudelo M, Nair M. (2015). Preparation and characterization of anti-HIV nanodrug targeted to microfold cell of gut-associated lymphoid tissue. International Journal of Nanomedicine. PMID: 26425084.
  9. Ande A, McArthur C, Ayuk L, Awasom C, Achu PN, Njinda A, Sinha N, Rao PS, Agudelo M, Nookala AR, Simon S, Kumar A, Kumar S. (2015). Effect of Mild-to-Moderate Smoking on Viral Load, Cytokines, Oxidative Stress, and Cytochrome P450 Enzymes in HIV-Infected Individuals. PLoS One;10(4):e0122402. PMID: 25879453.
  10. Nair MP, Figueroa G, Casteleiro G, Muñoz K, Agudelo M (2015) Alcohol Versus Cannabinoids: A Review of Their Opposite Neuro-Immunomodulatory Effects and Future Therapeutic Potentials. J Alcohol Drug Depend 3:184. PMID:26478902.
  11. Nair M, Maria Jose MB, Agudelo M, Yndart A, Vargas-Rivera ME (2015) Platelets Contribute to BBB Disruption Induced by HIV and Alcohol. J Alcohol Drug Depend 3:182. PMID: 26501067
  12. Jayant RD, Atluri VS, Agudelo M, Sagar V, Kaushik A, Nair M. (2015). Sustained-release nanoART formulation for the treatment of neuroAIDS. Int. J. Nanomedicine. 10:1077-1093. PMID: 25709433.
  13. Agudelo M, Khatavkar, P., Yndart, A. Yoo, C., Rosenberg, R., Dévieux, J.G., Malow, R.M., and Nair, MP. (2014) Alcohol Abuse and HIV infection: Role of DRD2. Current HIV Research. 12(4):234-42. PMID: 25053368.