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Department of biochemistry and Molecular biology

Ala Bielawska, PhD

Research ProfessorAlicja Bielawska
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

2001-Present      Director, Lipidomics Shared Resources, MUSC
2000-Present      HCC Member, MUSC, Charleston, SC
1998-2007          Research Associate Professor
, Dept of Biochemistry and
                              Molecular Biology, MUSC

1993                     Assistant Professor, Duke University Medical Center
1990                     Postdoctoral Fellow, Duke University Medical Center
1978                     Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculte Chimique Univ. P. Sabatier, France

1975                     Ph.D., Technical University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland
1969                     M.S., Technical University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland

Contact Info
Office: 843-792-0273
Lab: 843-792-7726/ 843-792-8853
Fax: 843-792-6080/ 843-792-1627


Research Interests

Research focuses on lipid synthesis, analysis and therapeutic application of novel bioactive molecules targeting sphingolipid metabolism. Current research interest relates to organelle-targeting sphingolipids and organelle-targeting inhibitors of sphingolipid metabolizing enzymes concentrating on mitochondria and lysosomes. Lipidomics Shared Resource at MUSC, directed by me, provides conceptual and practical training in various aspects of lipidology, qualitative and quantitative analysis of lipid components from different biological materials, synthetic molecular tools to study lipid metabolism and assists investigators in experimental design, selection of lipid of interest and interpretation of the analytical results. Analytical approach is based on High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) technology.

Selected Publications (from 133 peer-reviewed publications)

Boppana NB, DeLor JS, Van Buren E, Bielawska A, Bielawski J, Pierce JS, Korbelik M, Separovic D. (2016) Enhanced apoptotic cancer cell killing after Foscan photodynamic therapy combined with fenretinide via de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway. J Photochemistry and Photobiology, in press.

Perera MN, Ganesan V, Siskind LJ, Szulc ZM, Bielawska A, Bittman R, Colombini M. (2016) Ceramide channel: Structural basis for selective membrane targeting. Chem Phys Lipids 194:110-6.  

Boppana NB, Stochaj U, Kodiha M, Bielawska A, Bielawski J, Pierce JS, Korbelik M, Separovic D. (2015) Enhanced killing of SCC17B human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells after photodynamic therapy plus fenretinide via the de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway and apoptosis. Int J Oncol 46(5):2003-10. PMID: 25739041

Boppana NB, Stochaj U, Kodiha M, Bielawska A, Bielawski J, Pierce JS, Korbelik M, Separovic D. (2015) C6-pyridinium ceramide sensitizes SCC17B human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells to photodynamic therapy. J Photochem Photobiol B 143:163-8. PMID:25635908

Tirokar TS, Lu P, Bai A, Scheffel MJ, Gencer S, Garrett-Mayer E, Bielawska A, Ogretmen B, Voelkel-Johnson C. (2015) Expression of ceramide synthase 6 transcriptionally activates acid ceramidase in a c-JUN N-terminal Kinase (JNK) dependent manner. J Biol Chem 290(21):13157-67. PMID 25839235.

Paschall AV, Zimmerman MA, Torres CM, Yang D, Chen MR, Li X, Bieberich E, Bai A, Bielawski J, Bielawska A, Liu K. (2014) Ceramide targets xIAP and cIAP1 to sensitize metastatic colon and breast cancer cells to apoptosis induction to suppress tumor progression. BMC Cancer 14:24. PMID: 24422988

Simanshu DK, Zhai X, Munch D, Hofius D, Markham JE, Bielawski J, Bielawska A, Malinina L, Molotkovsky JG, Mundy JW, Patel DJ, Brown RE. (2014) Arabidopsis accelerated cell death 11, ACD11, is a ceramide-1-phosphate transfer protein and intermediary regulator of phytoceramide levels. Cell Rep 6(2):388-99.  PMID: 24412362

Yazama H, Kitatani K, Fujiwara K, Kato M, Hashimoto-Nishimura M, Kawamoto K, Hasegawa K, Kitano H, Bielawska A, Bielawski J, Okazaki T. (2014) Dietary glucosylceramides suppress tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by the inhibition of angiogenesis through an increase in ceramide. Int J of Clinical Oncology 20(3):438-46.

Bai A, Szulc ZM, Bielawski J, Pierce J, Rembiesa B, Terzieva S, Mao C, Xu R, Clarke CJ, Newcomb B, Liu X, Norris J, Hannun YA, Bielawska A. (2014) Targeting (cellular) lysososmal acid ceramidase by B13: Design, synthesis and evaluation of novel DMG-B13 ester prodrugs. Bioorg Med Chem 22(24):6933-44. PMID: 25456083

Alberg AJ, Armeson K, Pierce JS, Bielawski J, Bielawska A, Visvanathan K, Hill EG, Ogretmen B. (2013) Plasma sphingolipids and lung cancer: a population-based, nested case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 22(8):1374-82. PMID: 23749868

Korbelik M, Zhang W, Saw KM, Szulc ZM, Bielawska A, Separovic D. (2013) Cationic ceramides and analogues, LCL30 and LCL85, as adjuvants to photodynamic therapy of tumorsJ Photochem Photobiol B 126:72-7. PMID: 23911762

Cheng JC, Bai A, Beckham TH, Marrison ST, Yount CL, Young K, Lu P, Bartlett AM, Wu BX, Keane BJ, Armeson KE, Marshall DT, Keane TE, Smith MT, Jones EE, Drake RR Jr, Bielawska A, Norris JS, Liu X. (2013) Radiation-induced acid ceramidase confers prostate cancer resistance and tumor relapse. J Clin Invest 123(10):4344-58 PMID: 24091326

Beckham TH, Lu P, Jones EJ, Marrison T, Lewis CS, Cheng JC, Ramshesh VK, Beeson G, Beeson CC, Drake RR, Bielawska A, Bielawski J, Szulc ZM, Ogretmen B, Norris JS, Liu X. (2012) LCL124, a cationic analog of ceramide, selectively induces pancreatic cancer cell death by accumulating in mitochondria. JPET 344(1):167-78. PMID: 23086228

Separovic D, Nicholas J, Breen P, Bielawski J, Pierce JS, Van Buren E, Bhatti G, Saad ZH, Bai A, Bielawska A. (2011) Combining anticancer agents photodynamic therapy and LCL85 leads to distinct changes in the sphingolipid profile, authophagy, caspase-3 activation in the absence of cell death, and long-term sensitization. Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications 409(3):372-377.

Szulc ZM, Bai A, Bielawski J, Mayroo N, Miller DE, Gracz H, Hannun YA, Bielawska A. (2010) Synthesis, NMR characterization and divergent biological actions of 2-hydroxy-ceramide/dihydroceramide stereoisomers in mCF7 cells. Bioorg Med Chem 18(21):7565-79. 

Hammad SM, Pierce JS, Soodavar F, Smith KJ, Gadhan MM, Rembiesa B, Klein RL, Hannun YA, Bielawski J, Bielawska A. (2010) Blood sphingolipidomics in healthy humans: impact of sample collection methodology. J Lipid Research 51(100):3074-87.

Bielawski J, Pierce JS, Snider J, Rembiesa B, Szulc ZM, Bielawska A. (2010) Sphingolipid analysis by high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). Adv Exp Med Biol 688:46-59. Review. PMID: 20919645

Bai A, Szulc ZM,  Bielawski J, Mayroo N, Liu X, Norris J, Hannun YA, and Bielawska A. (2009) Synthesis and bioevaluation of ω-N-amino-analogs of B13. Bioorg Med Chem 17(5):1840-8. PMID: 19217788

Bielawski J, Pierce JS, Snider J, Rembiesa B, Szulc ZM, Bielawska A (2009) Comprehensive quantitative analysis of bioactive sphingolipids by high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Methods Mol Biol 579:443-67. PMID:19763489

Szulc ZM, Mayroo N, Bai A, Bielawski J, Norris JS, Hannun YA, Bielawska A. (2008) Novel analogs of D-e-MAPP and B13.  Part 1: Synthesis and evaluation as potential anticancer agents. Bioorg Med Chem 16:1015-1031. PMID: 17869115

Bielawska A, Bielawski J, Szulc ZM, Mayroo N, Liu X, Bai A, Elojeimy S, Rembiesa B, Pierce J, Norris JS, Hannun YA.  (2008) Novel Analogs of D-e-MAPP and B13.  Part 2: Signature effects on bioactive sphingolipids. Bioorg Med Chem 16:1032-1045. PMID: 17881234

Dahm F, Bielawska A, Nocito A, Georgiev P, Szulc ZM, Bielawski J, Jochum W, Dindo D, Hannun YA, Clavien PA. (2008) Mitochondrially targeted ceramide LCL-30 inhibits colorectal cancer in mice. Br J Cancer 98:98-105. PMID: 18026195

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