Aloysius Klingelhutz, PhD

Contact Information

Office: 2202 MERF 
Phone: 319-335-7788 
Faculty Profile

Brief description of current research:

In the broadest sense, my research is concerned with how cells age and how they overcome this process to become immortal during the development of cancer. In our studies, we have characterized the roles of the retinoblastoma and p53 pathways in aging and immortalization. We are also working on projects to determine how telomere shortening leads to aging and how activation of telomerase, the enzyme that adds telomeres to the ends of chromosomes, allows an extended cellular lifespan. For example, we have shown that shortening of telomeres can lead to growth defects in human cells and that this is association with induction of p53 and mitochondrial oxidative stress. Our studies have allowed us to develop tools to immortalize numerous human cell types. We have recently developed immortal human pre-adipocytes that can be readily differentiated into mature fat cells in culture. Adipocytes are emerging as key players in the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes through inflammatory response and defects in cytokine production. In collaborative studies, we have shown that bacterial toxins (S. aureus toxins, specifically) can induce an inflammatory response in adipocytes. We are also working on projects with the Toxicology Program to assess how persistent environmental pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) affect adipocyte differentiation and how this might lead to diabetes.

3 most influential diabetes/obesity/metabolism publications:

  • Vu, B.G., Stach, C.S., Kulhankova, K., Salgado-Pabon, W., Klingelhutz, A.J. and Schlievert, P.M. Chronic Superantigen Exposure Induces Systemic Inflammation, Elevated Bloodstream Endotoxin, and Abnormal Glucose Tolerance in Rabbits: Possible Role in Diabetes. mBio, 6:e02554, 2015.
  • Gadupudi, G., Gourronc, F.A., Ludewig, G., Robertson, L.W. and Klingelhutz, A.J. PCB126 inhibits adipogenesis of human preadipocytes. Toxicology In Vitro, 29:132, 2014.
  • Vu, B.G., Gourronc, F.A., Bernlohr, D.A., Schievert, P.M. and Klingelhutz, A.J. Staphylococcal superantigens stimulate immortalized human adipocytes to produce chemokines. PLOS One, 8:e77988, 2013. 


“I have come to learn that adipocytes are extremely important for responding to toxins and in regulating metabolic homeostasis. I used to think that they were just a nuisance that caused us to become fat”