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Maria De Luca, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition Sciences
School of Health Professions
Office Address: WEBB 451
Phone: 205-934-7033

Dr. Maria De Luca is an associate professor in the Division of Nutritional Biochemistry and Genomics in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Dr. De Luca obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Calabria (Italy) working on the study of human genetic variation using high variable DNA markers. During that time she was awarded a European Union Mobility Program fellowship to work in the laboratory of Dr. Julia Bodmer at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. The goal of the project was to develop a DNA method to study HLA alleles and apply it to the study of the genetic history of European populations. Dr. De Luca continued her academic training as a postdoctoral fellow at the Italian National Center on Aging working on the identification of genes involved in human longevity by a population genetic approach. She later joined the laboratory of Dr. Trudy Mackay at North Carolina State University where she expanded her research experience in the genetics and analysis of quantitative traits using D. melanogaster as model organism. Dr. De Luca joined UAB in November 2002 initially as a research-track fellow in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health and has held her current position in the Department of Nutrition Sciences since July 2005.

Dr. De Luca's research efforts are focused on the identification of conservedgenetic pathways that regulate metabolic homeostasis and life span usinga quantitative genetic approach andD. melanogaster as a model system. The objective of her research is to provide new models for human obesity and age-related metabolic diseases.

Representative Publications

  • Rose G, Crocco P, De Rango F, Corsonello A, Lattanzio F, De Luca M, Passarino G (2015) Metabolism and successful aging: polymorphic variation of syndecan-4 (SDC4) gene associate with longevity and lipid profile in healthy elderly Italian subjects.Mech Ageing Dev 150:27-33.
  • Pfluger PT et al., De Luca M, Molkentin JD, Tschöp MH. Protein phosphatase 3 links environmentally controlled mitochondrial fusion-fission dynamics with energy metabolism. Cell Metab in press
  • Otali D, Novak RJ, Wan W, Bu S, Moellering DR, De Luca M (2014). Increased production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and reduced adult life span in an insecticide-resistant strain of Anopheles gambiaeBull Entomol Res , 104:323-333.
  • Hodges T, Laskowski K, Squadrito G, De Luca M, Leips J (2013) Defense traits of larval Drosophila melanogaster exhibit genetically based tradeoffs against different species of parasitoids. Evolution, 67:749-760.
  • Jumbo-Lucioni P, Bu S, Harbison ST, Slaughter JC, Mackay TFC, Moellering D, De Luca M (2012) Nuclear-encoded genomic control of naturally occurring variation in mitochondrial respiration and efficiency in Drosophila melanogasterBMC Genomics, 13:659.
  • De Luca M, Crocco P, Wiener H, Tiwari KH, Passarino G, Rose G (2011) Association of a common LAMA5variant with anthropometric and metabolic traits in an Italian cohort of healthy elderly subjects. Exp Gerontol,46:60-64.
  • Jumbo-LucioniP, AyrolesJF, Chambers MosesM, Jordan KW, Leips J, MackayTFC, De Luca M (2010) Systems Genetics Analysis of Body Composition and Energy Metabolism Traits in Drosophila melanogasterBMC Genomics 11 :297.
  • De Luca M, Klimentidis YC, Casazza K, Moses ChambersM, Cho R, HarbisonST, Jumbo-LucioniP, ZhangS, Leips J, FernandezJR (2010) A conserved role for syndecan family members in the regulation of whole-body energy metabolism. PLoS ONE. 5: e11286.
  • Cho I, Horn L, Felix TM, Foster L, Gregory G, Starz-Gaiano M, Chambers MosesM, De LucaM (co-senior author), Leips J (2010) Age- and diet- specific effects of variation at S6kinase on life history, metabolic and immune response traits in Drosophila melanogasterDNA Cell Biol 29:473-485.
  • De Luca M, Yi N, Allison DB, Leips JW, Ruden DM (2005) Mapping quantitative trait loci affecting variation in Drosophila triacylglycerol storage. Ob Res13:1596-1605
  • De Luca M, Roshina NV, Geiger-Thornesberry GL, Lyman RF, Pasyukova EG, Mackay TFC (2003) Dopa decarboxylase affects variation in Drosophila longevity. Nat Genet 34: 429-433