Paul Spagnuolo, PhD
Associate Professor at University of Guelph
Dr. Spagnuolo has a Ph.D. in Applied Health Sciences from the University of Waterloo, and is currently a Professor at the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada.
His lab has been focused on identifying and developing nutraceuticals as novel therapeutic agents, and figuring out the molecular and cellular mechanisms through which these food-derived bioactive compounds influence cell biology. To that end, the Spagnuolo lab has created a unique, in-house nutraceutical library that is conducive for high-throughput screening. This is useful because it allows the lab to efficiently search for compounds with potent and selective toxicity against cancer cells.
When screening this natural health product library for potential therapeutics, they discovered avocatin B, a mixture of polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols that is found exclusively in avocados. Avocatin B was shown to have selective toxicity to leukemia and leukemia stem cells, and may also be a promising candidate as a drug to block or delay some of the cellular processes that lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.