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William Black Medical Res. Building
Room 914
650 W. 168th St.
New York, NY   10032

Phone: 212-305-5429
Fax: 212-305-2801

-Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
-Department of Medicine
-Division of Preventative Medicine & Nutrition

William S. Blaner, Ph.D.
Professor of Nutritional Medicine

Research Summary
Retinoid (vitamin A and its metabolites) metabolism and actions.

Research Activities
Most of our recent work has employed genetic manipulations of mice to study these processes. One research project is focused on the essential biological processes that are mediated by retinol-binding protein (RBP), the sole serum transport protein for retinol. We have disrupted the gene for RBP in mice and demonstrated that these mice are a useful model to study retinoid-dependent actions, including ones in cancer prevention and normal embryologic development. The retinoid status of these mice is exceeding tenuous and consequently retinoid-dependent functions can be conveniently studied in this animal model. The laboratory is also studying the processes through which provitamin A carotenoids like β-carotene are converted to retinoids. Carotenoid conversion to retinoids is accomplished by the combined actions of three enzymes and several other intestinal proteins and we are studying how these different proteins interact and are regulated to ensure efficient conversion of carotenoids to retinoids. Another project in the laboratory explores the molecular basis for why 13-cis-retinoic acid (Accutane) is a more effective drug than all-trans-retinoic acid (Tretinoin) even though the latter retinoid is more active in regulating retinoid-responsive genes. Here we are seeking to establish actions for retinoids that are independent of their roles as transcriptional regulators. Finally the laboratory is developing new methodologies for assessing retinoid status in populations of infants that are at risk of vitamin A deficiency. This collaborative work that involves investigators in Brazil seeks to establish practical and cost-effective new methods for use assessing vitamin A status in field settings.

Positions & Appointments
1995-Present Associate Professor of Nutritional Medicine Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons New York, NY
1994-1995 Assistant Professor of Nutritional Medicine Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons New York, NY
1988-1994 Assistant Professor of Public Health, Institute of Human Nutrition Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons New York, NY
1983-1988 Associate Research Scientist, Department of Medicine Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons New York, NY

Honors and Awards
1991 Ruth L. Pike Lecture and Award, Distinguished Young Investigator, Pennsylvania State University
1997 Member, U.S. Department of Agriculture Improving Human Nutrition for Optimal Health Review Panel, (April 1994, March 1995, March 1997)
1997 Organizing Committee Member, 1997 European Retinoid Research Group Meeting, Nice, France
1998 Committee Member, Food and Drug Administration, Food Safety Committee, Thirty Month Review of the Safety of Olestra
1999 Advisory Committee Member, National Cancer Institute, Consensus Panel Reviewing the Clinical Applications of 4-Hydroxyphenylretinamide
1999 Advisory Committee Member, Society of Investigative Dermatology, Consensus Panel Reviewing the Safety and Clinical Application of Isotretinoin
2000 Peer Review Team for the 5-Year External Evaluation of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Committees and Society Memberships
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
American Society of Nutritional Sciences (ASNS)
American Chemical Society
Harvey Society

Selected Publications:
1. Wendler, C.C., Schmoldt, A., Flentke, G.R., Case, L., Quadro, L., Blaner, W.S., Lough, J., Smith, S.M. (2003) Increased fibronectin deposition in embryonic hearts of retinol-binding protein-null mice. Circulation. Res 92:920-928

2. Vogel, S., Piantedosi, R., O’Byrne, S.M., Kako, Y., Quadro, L., Goldberg, I.J., Gottesman, M.E., and Blaner, W.S. (2002) Retinol-binding protein-deficient mice: Biochemical basis for impaired vision. Biochemistry 41:15360-8

3. Zhang, E.X., Lu, J., Tso, P., Blaner, W.S., Levin, M.S., and Li, E. (2002) Increased neonatal mortality in mice lacking cellular retinol-binding protein II. J. Biol. Chem 277:36617-23

4. Quadro, L., Blaner, W.S., Hamberger, L., van Gelder, R., Vogel, S., Piantedosi, R., Gouras, P., Colantuoni, V., and Gottesman, M.E. (2002) Muscle expression of human retinol-binding protein (hRBP): Suppression of the visual defect of RBP knockout mice. J. Biol. Chem 277:30191-7

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