Research Faculty

650 W. 168th St
Black Bldg 457
New York, NY 10032

Phone: 212-305-3961
Fax: 212-305-6772
Tilla S. Worgall, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology & Cell
Biology and Pediatrics at the Columbia
University Medical Center
Research Summary

I am an academically oriented clinical pathologist with a basic research interest in elucidating the role of sphingolipids in human disease and a clinical interest to adapt aptamers to determination of small molecules relevant to human disease in a point of care format.

My basic research uses cell culture and mouse models to understand the role of sphingolipids in atherosclerosis, cystic fibrosis and childhood asthma. We recently showed that decreased sphingolipid synthesis induces airway hyperreactivity. Studies had been prompted by GWAS studies that strongly implicated SNPs in the ORMDL3 protein, an inhibitor of sphingolipid synthesis, in childhood asthma. Our findings were received with interest as they might have identified a specific and targetable novel metabolic pathway leading to asthma.

A different line of interest is to adapt aptamers which are short strands of DNA that can fold and form receptors to detection of small molecules relevant to metabolic disease. DNA aptamers, developed by a collaborator at Columbia University, are cheap, robust, versatile and insensitive to temperature; advantages to development of point of care methodology for home and global health applications. We very recently demonstrated the ability to detect free amino acids in serum and capillary blood.

Selected Publications

Worgall, T.S., Veerappan, A., Sung, B., Kim, B.I., Weiner, E., Bholah, R., Silver, R.B., Jiang, X.C., and Worgall, S.. Impaired sphingolipid synthesis in the respiratory tract induces airway hyperreactivity. Sci Transl Med 2013 5:186ra167

Hornemann T, Worgall TS. Sphingolipids and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis 2013; 226: 16-28

Xu, Y., Krause, A., Limberis, M., Worgall, T.S., and Worgall, S. 2013. Low sphingosine-1-phosphate impairs lung dendritic cells in cystic fibrosis. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2013 48:250-257.

Stojanovic, M.N., and Worgall, T.S.. Detecting hydrophobic molecules with nucleic acid-based receptors. Curr Opin Chem Biol, 2010 14:751-757

Pei R, Shen Aa, Olah MJ, Stefanovic D, Worgall TS, Stojanovic MN. 2009. High-resolution cross-reactive array for alkaloids. Chem Commun (Camb). 2009 Jun 14;(22):3193-5

Chang CL, Seo T, Matsuzaki M, Worgall TS, Deckelbaum RJ. 2009. N-3 fatty acids reduce arterial LDL-cholesterol delivery and arterial lipoprotein lipase levels and lipase distribution. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 29: 555-61.

Hamai H, Keyserman F, Quittell LM, Worgall TS. 2009. Defective CFTR increases synthesis and mass of sphingolipids that modulate membrane composition and lipid signaling. J Lipid Res. 50: 1101-8.

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