October 31, 2018

Nukhet Aykin-Burns, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Radiation Health

UAMS College of Pharmacy

Research Interest Statement

My main research interests are studying the effects of cellular and mitochondrial bioenergetics, redox biology and oxidative stress on radiation-induced normal tissue damage. We investigate pharmacological agents that would exploit the differences in mitochondrial metabolism of normal and tumor cells in order to develop preventive strategies against cancer therapy-related side effects (especially in skin, liver and bone) while enhancing therapeutic responses. A long-standing focus of my laboratory is the effects of sirtuin 3 and its deacetylation targets on mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and redox homeostasis following exposures to exogenous stressors such as radiation and environmental toxicants (i.e. polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs). Many of these toxicants are considered as potential human carcinogens. We recently demonstrated that PCB11, a lower chlorinated congener that forms as an unexpected byproduct during yellow pigment manufacturing, can be metabolized and its metabolites can be detected in human blood. This congener has been detected in the air of industrial areas, such Chicago and Philadelphia. We also reported that in the absence of functional SIRT3, a hydroxylated metabolite of PCB11 alters the fatty acid metabolism driven mitochondrial function.

The past two decades have seen an increasing amount of attention focused on redox biology, free radicals and other oxidant species due to their significant roles in numerous disease states such as cancer. We will continue researching mechanisms by which mitochondrial oxidative metabolism affects cancer and normal cell tissue specific responses to chemo-radiotherapy.


Peer-Reviewed Grants


The Role of Tetrahydrobiopterin Bioavailability in Radiation-Induced Skin Injury



*cancer-related annual direct costs


Dr. Aykin-Burns’ UAMS Collaborators

Antino Allen, Ph.D.

Marjan Boerma, Ph.D.

Michael Borelli, Ph.D.

Gunner Boysen, Ph.D.

Phil Breen, PharmD, Ph.D.

Cesar Compadre, PharmD, Ph.D.

Peter Crooks, M.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc. (Manc), FRSC, FRPharmS, CSci, CChem

Jonathan Dranoff, M.D., Ph.D.

Martin-Hauer Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., FACS

Igor Koturbash, M.D., Ph.D.

LeeAnn MacMillan-Crow, Ph.D.

Rupak Pathak, Ph.D.

Snehalata Pawar, Ph.D.

Analiz Rodrigez, M.D., Ph.D.

Maria Schuller, Ph.D.

Amanda Stolarz, PharmD., Ph.D.

Allen Tackett, Ph.D.

Tiffany Weinkopff, Ph.D.

Youzhong Yuan, M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Aykin-Burns’ External Collaborators


Bryan Allen, M.D., Ph.D., The University of Iowa

Barry Bochner, Ph.D., Biolog

Amrita Cheema, Ph.D., Georgetown University

Mitchell Coleman, Ph.D., The University of Iowa

Sanchita Ghosh, Ph.D., Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute

David Gius, M.D., Ph.D., Northwestern University

Hande Gurer-Orhan, Ph.D., Ege University

Keri Hornbuckle, Ph.D., The University of Iowa

Luke Howard, Ph.D., University of Arkansas

Hans-Joachim Lehmler, Ph.D., The University of Iowa

Larry Robertson, Ph.D., The University of Iowa

Douglas Spitz, Ph.D., The University of Iowa

Haibo Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., University of California Irvine

Wei Zhao, Ph.D., University of Arkansas at Little Rock


Opportunities for Collaboration

There is growing evidence that mitochondrial metabolism and redox biology play a significant role in carcinogenesis at all stages (from initiation to malignancy) as well as numerous other human pathologies. Contact us if you want to discuss possible collaborations.


You Might not Know that …

I am the crazy soccer mom on the sidelines yelling.


Recent Cancer-Related Publications

Alam, S., Carter, G.S., Krager, K.J., Li, X., Lehmler, H-J., Aykin-Burns, N. (2018) “PCB11 Metabolite, 3,3′-Dichlorobiphenyl-4-ol, Exposure Alters the Expression of Genes Governing Fatty Acid Metabolism in the Absence of Functional Sirtuin 3: Examining the Contribution of MnSOD” Antioxidants. 15:7(9).


Nukala, U., Thakkar, S., Krager, K.J., Breen, P.J., Compadre, C.M., Aykin-Burns, N. (2018) Antioxidant Tocols as Radiation Countermeasures (Challenges to be Addressed to Use Tocols as Radiation Countermeasures in Humans). Antioxidants. 7: 2.


Krager, K.J., Pineda, E.N., Kharde, S., Kordsmeier, M., Howard, L., Breen, P.J., Compadre, C.M., Hauer-Jensen, M., Aykin-Burns, N. (2015) Tocotrienol rich fraction from rice bran demonstrates potent radiation protection activity. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015:148791


Cheema AK, Pathak R, Zandkarimi F, Kaur P, Alkhalil L, Singh R, Zhong X, Ghosh S, Aykin-Burns N, Hauer-Jensen M. (2014) “Liver metabolomics reveals increased oxidative stress and fibrogenic potential in gfrp transgenic mice in response to ionizing radiation.” J Proteome Res. 13: 3065-3074


Jacobus, J.A., Martin, S.M., Coleman, M., Mapuskar, K.A., Mao, G., Smith, B.J., Aykin-Burns, N., Domann, F.E., Knudson, M., Gius, D., Spitz, D.R. (2013) “Low Dose Radiation-Induced Enhancement of Thymic Lymphomagenesis in Lck-Bax Mice is Dependent on LET and Gender” Radiat Res 180:156-165