An Overview




Phone: 510-428-3885 x2376



Dr. Killilea’s research program examines the complex behavior of metals within diverse biological systems.

Metals in Nutrition: Nutritional metals (minerals) have fundamental roles within human metabolism, which is a central research theme within the Nutrition & Metabolism Center at CHORI. The minerals are tightly coordinated by local and systemic responses, but imbalances can persist due to poor diet or systemic disorders, leading to chronic disease. Dr. Killilea studies the regulation of mineral balance from basic cell culture through complex human populations. He works in partnership with groups improving the nutrient density of our foods, including wheat and rice. He is also developing novel biomarkers to better understand the pharmacodynamics of metals and improved assessment of mineral status.

Metals in Disease: Metals act as the fulcrum in a number of pathological abnormalities, including the pernicious biomineralization that form during kidney stone disease or protein aggregates that form during most neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Killilea works in partnership with laboratories at the University of California, San Francisco and the Buck Institute for Research in Aging to study the role of metals and metalloproteins in these systems. The overall goal of his research group is to resolve the chemical composition of pathological biomineralization from human and animal models, and connect these features to disease etiology and treatment.

Metal Analysis: Dr. Killilea directs the CHORI Elemental Analysis Facility, which provides simultaneous quantitation of over 30 elements at high sensitivity and precision from a wide range of clinical and pre-clinical sample types. This analytic facility is available to extramural users on a fee-for-service basis, along with support for experimental design, sample handling, data analysis, and technical writing as needed. To enhance this work, additional techniques including confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, genomic profiling, and proteomic tools can be used for a comprehensive metallomic assessment.


revised: April 17, 2020 1:22 PM


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