Advisory Board

Professor Vadim N. Gladyshev

Vadim N. Gladyshev, Ph.D., FAAAS, is Professor at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an expert and pioneer in antioxidant/redox biology. He is known for his characterization of the human selenoprotein encoded by 25 genes. He has conducted studies on whether organisms can acquire cellular damage from their food and the role selenium plays as a micro-nutrient with significant health benefits. In 2013 he won the NIH Pioneer Award.

Vadim is Principal Investigator at his Gladyshev Laboratory – Brigham & Women’s Hospital. The Lab is part of the Department of Medicine, Division of Genetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. They are trying to uncover the molecular basis for natural changes in longevity by identifying adaptations in long-lived mammals and examining longevity-associated processes across all mammals.

The Gladyshev lab research interests focus on redox biology and trace elements as applied to cancer, aging and male reproduction. They are trying to understand the mechanisms of redox regulation of cellular processes by studying reactive oxygen species (ROS) and thiol oxidoreductase functions of cellular components.

In mammals, major redox systems are dependent on the trace element selenium, which is an essential component of various redox enzymes in thioredoxin, glutathione and methionine sulfoxide reduction pathways. Selenium is present in proteins in the form of the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine, encoded by UGA codon.

The Gladyshev lab is expanding their research on the basic mechanisms of aging, which they characterize using methods of biochemistry and bioinformatics and utilizing model organisms, primarily yeast and fruit flies. More generally, they think aging is the consequence of accumulation of damaged biomolecules in cells and organisms.

Vadim obtained his education at Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. He did his postdoctoral training with Dr. Thressa Stadtman, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and then with the Dolph L. Hatfield, National Cancer Institute (NCI). His first faculty appointment was in the Department of Biochemistry, the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE.

Vadim became a full professor in only 6 years and then received the Charles Bessey Professorship. He served as the Director of the Redox Biology Center until 2009, when he moved to the Department of Medicine, Brigham, and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where he is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Redox Medicine.

Vadim was born in 1966 and was raised in Orenburg, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He graduated from high school with the highest honors (gold medal), while also completing music school. He credits his high school teacher, Maria Kashkareva, for stimulating his interest in chemistry and introducing him to experimental and current science. Her emphasis on excellence contributed heavily to Vadim receiving the first prize in chemistry in the state (Orenburg region) twice during his high school years. His father was an engineer, and his mother worked for a local newspaper. They provided him unconditional support and instilled in him to achieve the best education possible.

In 1983, Vadim was accepted to Moscow State University, the finest university in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where he received BS/MS degrees with the highest honors (red diploma) in 1988 and a doctorate in biochemistry in 1992. He started doing research at the age of 18, joining a lab at the Institute of Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences. He played chess throughout his college years for his university and department (being captain), achieving the level of national master.

For postdoctoral training, Vadim joined the Laboratory of Biochemistry, NHLBI, NIH, working with Thressa Stadtman, who had previously discovered that the trace element selenium was present in protein in the form of selenocysteine (Sec). The superb scientific environment in the NHLBI was instrumental in his early training, and it played a significant role in his future scientific endeavors.

At the NHLBI, Vadim used electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and other biophysical methods to show that selenium was coordinated to molybdenum in the active site of nicotinic acid hydroxylase. This established a function for selenium as a cofactor that did not involve Sec. He also demonstrated the coordination of Sec to molybdenum in formate dehydrogenase H. He spent 2 years crystallizing this enzyme.

A challenge was that it was highly sensitive to molecular oxygen. He spent many hours in the NHLBI Anaerobic Laboratory, the only such facility in the world. After more than a year of failed crystallization attempts, he found a beautiful crystal and, in collaboration with Peter Sun of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the structure of formate dehydrogenase was solved.

In 1996, Vadim moved to the Basic Research Laboratory, NCI, receiving training in cell and molecular biology with Dolph L. Hatfield. There, he discovered another selenoprotein, the 15\x{2009}kDa selenoprotein (Sep15). While analyzing its sequence, he noticed significant variation among mouse Sep15 sequences. His curiosity led to the discovery that the major mouse cDNA library used by the research community was actually derived from rats. He contacted the National Center for Biotechnology Information, who then took action to correct it. Shared scientific interests of Dolph and Vadim developed during his postdoctoral training, resulting in a long-lasting collaboration and friendship. Together, they published 112 research articles and, in addition, have written numerous book chapters and edited three books.

In 1998, Vadim joined the Department of Biochemistry, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as an assistant professor. He quickly rose through the academic ranks and became full professor after only 6 years. In 2005, he was named Charles Bessey Professor of Biochemistry and, in 2007, he became Director of the Redox Biology Center. In 2008, Vadim received the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award, the highest recognition in the University of Nebraska system.

In 2009, he moved his laboratory to the Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Brigham, and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where he remains as Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Redox Medicine. He is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and a faculty member of the Dana Farber Cancer Center. In recent years, he has also been a visiting Distinguished Professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea (2010–2013), and a Founding Faculty Fellow of the Skoltech Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow, Russia (2011–2015).

In 2006, Vadim established and chaired a new Gordon Research Conference on “Thiol-based Redox Regulation and Signaling.” This premier antioxidant/redox biology conference is currently a regular and very successful meeting. Vadim also chaired an FASEB summer conference and several other meetings. He was elected to AAAS and is the recipient of EUREKA (grant from the National Institute on Aging), Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT), and PIONEER awards from National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Read about his Antioxidants & Redox Signaling at NCBI. Visit his ResearchGate and Harward profiles. See his list of publications at PubMed, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Molecular and Cellular Biology. Some of his important work and publications include Genome sequencing reveals insights into physiology and longevity of the naked mole rat, Understanding the Causes of Aging, Mechanisms of lifespan control, How Selenium Has Altered Our Understanding of the Genetic Code, and Selenoprotein Gene Nomenclature.