Dr. Holian attended Bowling Green State University, where in 1971 he received a B.S. in Chemistry. He received his Ph.D in Chemistry from Montana State University in 1975. Following positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University, he moved to Texas and joined the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 1984. During his tenure in Houston, Andrij rose to the rank of full professor and became the Director of Research for the Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center. In July of 2000, he came to the University of Montana to serve as Director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is also the Scientific Director of the CEHS Inhalation and Pulmonary Physiology Core, the Director of the UM Toxicology Graduate Program and the UM Program Director of the MUS Collaborative Materials Science PhD Program.
The primary focus of the laboratory is the elucidation of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of lung injury (inflammation and fibrosis) from a diverse array of agents. Our laboratory has a pulmonary disease research emphasis with expertise in macrophage biology and immune disregulation. The goals of the studies are to develop strategies to identify subjects at greatest risk of developing lung injury, develop new methods/pharmacologic tools to prevent or halt to progress of lung inflammation and evaluate the risk of human disease from environmentally and occupationally-derived toxic agents. Listed below are brief summaries of ongoing projects.
As reported by the National Academy of Sciences, the development of nanomaterials is outpacing the evaluation of potential risk that these materials may be causing to the environment and human health. Our laboratory has ongoing projects funded by NIH and NSF to determine what health effects could be caused by nanomaterials, their mechanism(s) of action and what characteristics of nanomaterials are most likely to lead to toxic effects. We have established that carbon nanotubes and titanium nanowires cause lung inflammation, granulomas and fibrosis. In vitro studies have shown that macrophage cell lines are poor models for primary macrophages where nanowires induce macrophage apoptosis and necrosis. Both in vivo and in vitro studies indicate that the order of potency is long nanowires > short nanowires >> nanospheres with respect to toxicity and lung injury. This outcome suggested that something other than surface chemistry is responsible for unique toxicity of nanowires and current research supports the hypothesis that the toxicity is directly proportional to lysosomal disruption. Current research is examining the mechanisms responsible for membrane recognition, lysosomal disruption, design of safe nanomaterials and pharmacological intervention to limit lung pathologies resulting from exposures to these materials.
We have utilized crystalline silica as a model toxic particulate to study the mechanisms involved in the development of lung fibrosis that may be caused by various agents or unknown in the case of idiopathic lung fibrosis. Since no effective therapeutic approaches are currently in practice this presents an important challenge. Ongoing NIH-funded projects are examining:
Similar to silica, asbestos is known to cause lung fibrosis and appears to enhance autoimmune diseases. There are a number of different forms of asbestos with amphiboles forms considered more toxic than chrysotile, which is a serpentine fiber. Over the past few years interest has increased in a somewhat different form of amphibole that contaminated vermiculite mined in Libby, MT. This Libby amphibole has been responsible for a high frequency of occupationally linked cases of asbestos related diseases and environmentally associated cases. Not only is the composition different, but also the sizes of the fibers are smaller. These differences as well as the real world diseases that exist in Libby pose significant challenges and needs to identify mechanisms of action of these fibers in disease causation in order to develop therapeutic intervention. Current studies are examining the roles of fiber size in toxicity and pathological outcomes as well as mechanisms of toxicity.
While it has been well recognized that methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug our studies have shown that smoking methamphetamine causes acute lung injury as well as severe constriction of blood vesicles in the heart. These outcomes may explain the anecdotal and published observations that children taken from homes, where methamphetamine exposures have occurred, have acute respiratory distress while users develop cardiovascular complications. Our CDC funded research program has shown that relatively low exposures increase airway hyper-reactivity as well as cardiovascular changes in murine models. Our current focus is developing information on mechanisms to explain these events with the goal of providing caregivers and first responders new information on dealing with children and others who have been exposed to methamphetamine smoke.
Many studies have now shown that exposure to respirable particulate matter (PM2.5) causes a variety of health effects and that living in an environment with cleaner air increases life expectancy. There is increasing evidence that maternal exposures to particulate matter may lead to epigenetic changes. Since exposures to biomass smoke can be very high in indoor environments in homes with wood stoves (in rural settings as well as in developing countries) and during wildfire events our focus is on potential epigenetic changes from biomass smoke exposures that may predispose children towards development of asthma.
Hamilton RF, Wu N, Porter D, Buford M, Wolfarth M, Holian A. Particle length dependent titanium dioxide nanomaterials toxicity and bioactivity. Particle Fibre Toxicol 6(1):35, 2009. PMID:20043844
Beamer CA, Migliaccio C, Jessop F, Trapkus M, Yuan D, Holian A. Innate immune processes are sufficient for driving silicosis in mice. J Leuko Biol 88(3):547-557, 2010. PMID:20576854
Ohar JA, Hamilton RF Jr, Zheng S, Sadeghnejad A, Sterling DA, Xu J, Meyers DA, Bleeker ER, Holian A. COPD is associated with a macrophage scavenger receptor (MSR1) gene sequence variation. Chest 137(5):1098-1107, 2010. PMID:20081102
Biswas R, Bunderson-Schelvan M, Holian A. Potential role of the inflammasome-derived inflammatory cytokines in pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary Med 2011105707, 2011. PMID:21660282
Hamilton RF Jr, Buford M, Ziang C, Wu N, Holian A. NLRP3 inflammasome activation in murine alveolar. Macrophages and related lung pathology is associated with MWCNT nickel contamination. Inhal Toxicol. 24(14):995-1008, 2012. PMID 23216160
Beamer CA, Girtsman TA, Seaver BP, Finsaas KJ, Migliaccio CT, Perry VK, Rottman JB, Smith DE, Holian A. IL-33 Mediates Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube (MWCNT)-Induced Airway Hyper-reactivity via the Mobilization of Innate Helper Cells in the Lung. Nanotoxicol 7(6):1070-1081, 2013. PMID: 22686327
Hamilton RF Jr, Girtsman TA, Xiang C, Wu N, Holian A. Nickel Contamination on MWCNT is Related to Particle Bioactivity but not Toxicity in the THP-1 transformed Macrophage Model. Int J Biomed Nanosci Nanotech 3(1/2):107-126, 2013.
Porter DW, Wu N, Hubbs AF, Mercer RR, Funk K, Meng F, Wolfarth MG, Battelli, Friend S, Andrew M, Hamilton RF Jr, Sriram K, Yang F, Castranova V, Holian A. Differential Mouse Pulmonary Dose- and Time Course Responses to Titanium Dioxide Nanospheres and Nanobelts. Tox Sci 131(1):179-93, 2013. PMID 22956629
Hamilton RF Jr., Xiang C, Li M, Ka I, Yang F, Ma D, Porter DW, Wu N, Holian A. Purification and sidewall functionalization of multiwalled carbon nanotubes and resulting bioactivity. Inhal Toxicol. 25(4):199-210, 2013. PMID 23480196.
Hamilton RF Jr, Wu Z, Mitra S, Shaw PK, Holian A. Effect of MWCNT size carboxylation, and purification on in vitro and in vivo toxicity, inflammation and lung pathology. Particle Fibre Toxicol. 10:57, 2013. PMID 24225053
Xia T, Hamilton RF Jr, Bonner JC, Crandall ED, Elder A, Fazlollahi F, Girtsman TA, Kim K, Mitra S, Ntim SA,
Orr G, Tagmount M, Taylor AJ, Telesca D, Tolic A, Vulpe C, Walker A, Wang X, Witzmann FA, Wu N, Xie Y, Zink JI, Nel A, Holian A. Inter-laboratory comparison of in vitro cytotoxicity and inflammatory responses to engineered nanomaterials of the NIEHS NanoGo Consortium. Environ Health Perspect 121(6):683-690, 2013. PMID 23649538.
Girtsman TA, Beamer CA, Wu N, Buford M, Holian A. IL-1R signaling is critical for regulation of multi-walled carbon nanotubes induced acute lung inflammation in C57Bl/6 mice. Nanotoxicol. 8(1):17-27, 2014. PMID 23094697
Sager T, Wolfarth M, Friend S, Hubbs A, Hamilton R, Wu N, Yang F, Porter D, Holian A. Effect of multi-walled carbon nanotube surface modification on bioactivity and inflammasome activation in the C57Bl/6 mouse model. Nanotoxicol. 8(3):317-27, 2014. PMID 23432020
Tilton SC, Karin NJ, Tolic A, Xie Y, Lai X, Hamilton RF Jr, Waters KM, Holian A, Witzmann FA, Orr GA. Three human cell types respond to multi-walled carbon nanotubes and titanium dioxide nanobelts with cell-specific transcriptomic and proteomic expression patterns. Nanotoxicol. 8(5):533-548, 2014. PMID 23659662.
Wu Z, Hamilton RF Jr, Wang Z, Holian A, Mitra S. Oxidation debris in microwave functionalized carbon nanotubes: Chemical and biological effects. Carbon. 68(March):678-686, 2014.
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