Marino De Leon, PhD

Professor, Physiology and Pharmacology

School of Medicine

University Faculty Profile

Research Interests

Dr. Marino De Leon's laboratory interest is in the neurobiology of neuronal injury and axonal regeneration/degeneration. Current studies in the laboratory are identifying cellular mechanism(s) associated with lipotoxicity and the function of fatty acid binding proteins in cell growth and differentiation. An important long-term translational outcome is to elucidate the role of the "augmented state of cellular oxidative stress" (ASCOS) in the development of health disparities such as diabetes and stroke.

Dr. Marino De Leon is the founding director of the newly created Loma Linda University School of Medicine Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine (CHDMM). Dr. De Leon received his doctorate in physiology (neurophysiology) from the University of California at Davis and completed post-doctoral studies in molecular neurobiology at Stanford University under the mentorship of Dr. Eric M. Shooter. His graduate and postdoctoral studies were supported by fellowships and assistantships from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Stanford University and UC Davis.

Dr. De Leon's focus on student training has resulted in the development of several research and academic programs to eliminate health disparities and increase diversity among biomedical and physician scientists who graduate from Loma Linda University. These programs include the Apprenticeship Bridge to College (ABC) high school program, the Undergraduate Training Program (UTP), Medical Training Program (MTP), and the PhD educational research training program Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD). He is the founding director of the Office of Student Development (OSD) in the Loma Linda University School of Medicine (2001), which administrates these programs. He is the principal investigator and program director for two major NIH awards from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities that fund these programs.

Dr. De Leon's professional career has led to serving on research advisory panels for the National Research Council and the National Institutes of Health (NICHD, NIGMS and NCMHD), Bethesda, MD. The National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Montgomery Street Foundation, and Loma Linda University School of Medicine have funded his research. Numerous honors received by Dr. De Leon include the "Loma Linda University Outstanding Leadership of Minority Student and Principle of Diversity Award" (1995), the "Loma Linda University Diversity Service Award" (1998), the "Walter E. McPherson Society Faculty Researcher for The Year Award" (2001), the "Loma Linda University Hispanic Alumni award for contributions leading to Hispanic Empowerment" (2003), and the "Loma Linda University Health Science Center Centennial Vanguard Award" (2006).

Selected Publications

  1. Almaguel FG, Liu J-W, Pacheco FJ, De Leon D, Casiano CA, and De Leon, M. Lipotoxicity-mediated cell dysfunction and death involve lysosomal membrane permeabilization and cathepsin L activity. Brain Research 1318C:133-143. 2010.
  2. Padilla, A, Descorbeth, M, Almeyda, LK, Payne, K. and De León, M. Hyperglycemia magnifies Schwann cell dysfunction and cell death triggered by PA-induced lipotoxicity. Brain Research 1370:64-79. 2011.
  3. Salto L. M, Beeson, L, Eloy Schulz, Firek, A, Cordero-MacIntyre Z, De León, M. En Balance participants decrease dietary fat and cholesterol intake as part of a culturally-sensitive, Hispanic diabetes education program. The Diabetes Educator 37(2): 239-253. 2011.
  4. Salto L, Cordero-MacIntyre Z, Beeson L, Schulz E, Firek A, and De Leon M. En Balance Participants Decrease Dietary Fat and Cholesterol Intake as Part of a Culturally Sensitive Hispanic Diabetes Education Program. The Diabetes Educator 37 (2), 239-253.2011.
  5. Bu L, Salto LM, De Leon KJ, and De Leon M. Polymorphisms in fatty acid binding protein 5 show association with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 92 (1), 82-91. 2011.
  6. Figueroa Johnny, Cordero Kathia, Baledosingh Keisha, Torrado Aranza, Walker Robert, Miranda Jorge and Marino De Leon. Docosahexanoic acid pretreatment confers protection and functional improvements after acute spinal cord injury in adult rats. J Neurotrauma. 29(3):551-66. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.2141. 2012.
  7. Chukwueke I, Firek A, Beeson L, Brute M, Shulz E, De Leon M, Cordero-MacIntyre, Z. The En Balance Spanish Diabetes Education Program Improves Apolipoproteins, Serum Glucose and Body Composition in Hispanic Diabetics. Ethnicity and Disease 22 (2), 215-220. 2012.
  8. Wheeler G, Montgomery SB, Beeson L, Bahjri K, Shulz E, Firek A, De Leon M, and Cordero-MacIntyre Z. En Balance The Effects of Spanish Diabetes Education on Physical Activity Changes and Diabetes Control. The Diabetes Educator 38 (5), 723-732. 2012.
  9. A Basu, H Rojas, H Banerjee, IB Cabrera, KY Perez, M De León, CA Casiano Expression of the stress response oncoprotein LEDGF/p75 in human cancer: a study of 21 tumor types. PLoS One. 7(1):e30132. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030132. Epub 2012 Jan 19. 2012.
  10. Basu A, Drame A, Muñoz R, Gijsbers R, Debyser Z, De Leon M, and Casiano CA. Pathway specific gene expression profiling reveals oxidative stress genes potentially regulated by transcription co‐activator LEDGF/p75 in prostate cancer cells. Prostate. 72(6):597-611. doi: 10.1002/pros.21463.2012.
  11. Figueroa J, Cordero K, Serrano-Illan M, and De Leon M. Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improve the neurolipidome and restore the DHA status while promoting functional recovery after experimental spinal cord injury. J Neurotrauma 30(10):853-68. doi: 10.1089/neu.2012.2718. 2013.
  12. Figueroa J, Cordero K, Serrano-Illan M, Almeyda A, Baldeosingh K, Almaguel F, and De Leon M. Metabolomics uncovers dietary omega-3 fatty acid-derived metabolites implicated in anti nociceptive responses after experimental spinal cord injury. Neuroscience 255, 1-18. 2014.
  13. Beeson L, Ojo E, Chukwueke I, Shulz E, Firek A, De Leon M, Balcazar H, and Cordero-MacIntyre Z (2013). Association of bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC) and serum lipids in Hispanics with type 2 diabetes. International Journal of Body Composition Research 11- No. 3 & 4: 113–118. 2013.
  14. Figueroa J, and De Leon M. Neurorestorative targets of dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in neurological injury. Mol Neurobiol. 50(1):197-213. doi: 10.1007/s12035-014-8701-1.2014.
  15. Salto LM, Riggs ML, De Leon D, Casiano CA, and De Leon M. Underrepresented minority high school and college students report STEM-pipeline sustaining gains after participating in the Loma Linda University Summer Health Disparities Research Program. PLoS One;9(9):e108497.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108497. 2014.
  16. Pacheco FJ, Almaguel FG, Evans W, Leoh LS, Rook-Arena E, Rios-Colon L, Mediavilla-Varela M, Filippov V, De Leon M, and Casiano CA. (2014). Docosahexanoic acid antagonizes TNF--induced cell death by attenuating oxidative stress, lysosomal dysfunction, autophagy, and ceramide production. Inflammation Research 63:859-71. 2014.
  17. Liu JW, Montero M, Bu L, and De Leon M. Epidermal fatty acid-binding protein protects nerve growth factor-differentiated PC12 cells from lipotoxic injury. Liu JW, Montero M, Bu L, De Leon M. J Neurochem. 132(1):85-98. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12934. 2015.
  18. Salto LM, Bu L, Beeson WL, Firek A, Cordero-Mcintyre Z and De Leon M. The Ala54Thr Polymorphism of the fatty acid binding protein 2 gene modulates HDL cholesterol in Mexican-Americans with type 2 diabetes. Int J Environ Res Public Health 23;13(1). pii:E52.doi: 10.3390/ijerph1301052. PMID 26703680. 2015.
  19. Nicholas DA, Salto LM, Boston AM, Kim NS, Larios M, Beeson WL, Firek AF, Casiano CA, Langridge WH, Cordero-McIntyre Z and De Leon M. Identification of Anti-long chain saturated fatty acid IgG antibodies in serum of patients with type 2 diabetes. Mediators Inflamm. 15:196297. Doi: 10:1155/2015/196297. 2015.
  20. Figueroa JD, Serrano-Illan M, Licero J, Cordero K, Miranda JD and De Leon M. Fatty acid binding protein modulates docosahexaenoic acid-induced recovery in rats undergoing spinal cord injury. Journal of Neurotrama, Epub ahead of print. PMID 26715431. 2016.