Cristiana Iosef, DVM, PhD

Assistant Professor

Contact Information


Dr. Cristiana Iosef joined UNR in November 2013 after fulfilling 3.5 yrs of work as an associate faculty scientist with the Alvira Laboratory at the Center for Excellence in Pulmonary Biology, Stanford University. By training, Dr Iosef is a cell-biologist able to analyze how factors in the micro-environment impact the molecular signaling and epigenetic profile of developing tissues. Her favorite research tools are molecular imaging and signaling pathways analysis, including transcriptional activity. Dr Iosef started her research career in 1989 as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Institute Pasteur of Bucharest, Romania. During her doctoral studies, Dr Iosef was a Fulbright Scholar at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, MO, under the mentorship of Dr L. Ratner. By extensive post-doctoral training, she specialized in animal models for pediatric diseases (The Ohio State University, with Dr Linda Saif) and Biochemistry (The University of Western Ontario, Canada, with Dr Shawn Li). For eight years (2002-2010), Dr Iosef worked as a faculty associate scientist and co-principal investigator with Dr Victor Han, at the Children's Health Research Institute in London, Canada where she successfully developed projects that debate the potential epigenetic role of Insulin-like Growth Factors in tissue repair and development. Currently Dr Iosef works as an Research Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, The University of Nevada in Reno, and she continues to collaborate with her groups from Stanford and UWO universities.

Research Interests

I am interested in understanding the molecular basis of muscle and endothelial tissue-development, as regulated by external molecular cues, such as growth factors (GFs). The transition between different cell fates can be regulated by GFs and inheritable micro-RNAs (miRNAs) following an epigenetic fashion. In this context, my central hypothesis is that metabolic GFs are able to induce or reset epigenetic modifications by engaging tissue specific miRNAs. I am particularly interested in GFs that signal through membrane Receptor-Tyrosine-Kinases (RTKs), specifically: Insulin, Insulin-Like-Growth Factors (IGF-I and -II) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF).

The latest results of my research suggest that variations in IGF-I levels impact chromatin memory. In addition, we found that IGF-binding proteins (which regulate the IGFs bio-availability), such as IGFBP-1 and -6 have epigenetic functions by interacting with histones.

My long term goal is to design therapeutic strategies that reset epigenetic traits in muscle and/or endothelia, by using combined treatments with GFs, miRNAs and pharmacological modulators of the related signaling pathways.

Courses Taught

  • BCH 407 (Senior Thesis Adviser)
  • BCH 660 (Lecturer, Laser based Technologies)
  • Biochemistry (Lecturer, New Born Screening)

Selected Publications

  • 2016: Iosef Husted C & Valencik M. The role of the insulin-like growth factors in cardiac epigenetics. Invited review. J Cell Mol Med. 2016 Aug;20(8):1589-602.
  • 2015: Ying L, Becard M, Lyell D, Han X, Shortliffe L, Iosef Husted C, Alvira CM, Cornfield DN. The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 channel modulates uterine tone during pregnancy. SCIENCE (Transl Med.) 23;7(319):319.
  • 2014: Youssef A, Iosef C & V Han. The signaling of insulin-like growth factor type I receptor in adult stem cells depends on the dose of the ligand which is crucial for switching the pathways between pErk1/2 and pAkt and consequently the cell fate. Endocrinology. 155(4); 1386-97.
  • 2013: Majida Abu Shehab, Cristiana Iosef, Girish Sardana, Robert Wildgruber, Madhulika B Gupta.
Phosphorylation of IGFBP-1 at Discrete Sites Elicits Variable Effects on IGF-I Receptor Autophosphorylation.
Endocrinology 2013;154(3):1130-43
  • 2012. Cristiana Iosef, Cristina M. Alvira, Tero-Pekka Alastalo, Yanli Hou, Chihhsin Chen, Yong-Tae Ahn, Eloa S. Adams, Shu-Chen Lyu, David N. Cornfield, Cristina M. Alvira. Constitutive Activity of Nuclear Factor Kappa-B (NFκB) in the Pulmonary Endothelium Promotes Angiogenesis and is Essential for Lung Development. Am J of Physiology. Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 2012;302(10):L1023-36.
  • 2011: Merk DR, Chin JT, Dake BA, Maegdefessel L, Miller MO, Kimura N, Tsao PS, Iosef C, Berry GJ, Mohr FW, Spin JM, Alvira CM, Robbins RC, Fischbein MP. miR-29b Participates in Early Aneurysm Development in Marfan Syndrome. Circ Res. 2012 Jan 20;110(2):312-24
  • 2010: Iosef Cristiana; Vilk Gregory; Gkourasas Theofanis; Lee Kyung-Jong; Chen Benjamin P C; Fu Ping; Bach Leon A; Lajoie Gilles; Gupta Madhulika B; Li Shawn S C; Han Victor K Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-6 (IGFBP-6) interacts with DNA-end binding protein Ku80 to regulate cell fate. Cellular signaling 2010;22(7):1033-43.
  • 2008: Iosef Cristiana; Gkourasas Theofanis; Jia Christina Y H; Li Shawn S-C; Han Victor K M. A functional nuclear localization signal in insulin-like growth factor binding protein-6 mediates its nuclear import. Endocrinology 2008;149(3):1214-26.