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Dr. Anna N. Bukiya, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacology
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

205 Translational Science Research Building
71 S. Manassas St.
Memphis, TN 38103-8982
Phone: 901.448.2128
Email: Anna Bukiya


  • PhD, Institution: Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov (Russia), Department of Physiology
  • Postdoctoral: University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Department of Physiology

Research Interests

The major line of interest in the lab is the lipid regulation of alcohol effect on cerebral circulation at different points during lifetime (from in utero into late adulthood). We are currently pursuing several lines. We are studying the role of dietary cholesterol in the physiology and pathology of cerebral arteries via ion channel involvement. Using rat model of high-cholesterol diet, we were the first to show that dietary cholesterol was a critical nutritional regulator of alcohol-induced constriction of cerebral arteries. After establishing the phenomenon at organ level, we are currently dissecting out molecular and structural mechanisms that enable cholesterol regulation of alcohol-induced constriction of cerebral arteries. Considering that statins - cholesterol lowering therapy - are one of the most widely prescribed and consumed drugs, we are studying their effect on cholesterol level in cerebral artery tissue and on artery response to alcohol.

Another line of work is carried out in close collaboration with the Department of Comparative Medicine and with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UTHSC. This line of work involves non-human primates - baboons, whose pregnancy and developmental milestones are similar to humans. We are focused on the role of endocannabinoid lipids in alcohol effect on fetal cerebral circulation during maternal binge drinking. We are aiming at identification of novel targets of maternal drinking in fetal cerebral arteries. This exploratory work may lay a foundation to early diagnostics and successful prevention/treatment of the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) that are estimated to affect at least 1% of births in the USA.

In addition, we are working on the interaction of potassium (e.g. GIRK, BK) channels with physiologically relevant lipids. In close collaboration with Dr. Alex Dopico (UTHSC), we were able to map several lipid-sensing sites in both BK channel-forming and accessory beta 1 subunits. These studies include recognition motifs for bile acids, cholesterol, and leukotriene B4. We are currently working on developing synthetic ligands for these sites. Newly discovered ligands will be used as lead compounds for designing drugs that modulate diameter of cerebral arteries via action on BK channel. In another collaborative line with Dr. Avia Rosenhouse-Dantsker at the University of Illinois at Chicago we are studying molecular mechanisms of cholesterol modulation of GIRK channels and potential implications of such modulation on GIRK channel physiology and role in Down syndrome pathology.

Representative Publications

  • Bukiya AN, Dopico AM. Cannabinoid Interactions with Proteins: Insights from Structural Studies. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1162:39-50. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-21737-2_3. Review. PubMed PMID: 31332733.
  • Bukiya AN. Physiology of the Endocannabinoid System During Development. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1162:13-37. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-21737-2_2. Review. PubMed PMID: 31332732.
  • Ounjian J, Bukiya AN, Rosenhouse-Dantsker A. Molecular Determinants of Cholesterol Binding to Soluble and Transmembrane Protein Domains. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019;1135:47-66. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-14265-0_3. Review. PubMed PMID: 31098810.
  • Bukiya AN. Fetal Cerebral Artery Mitochondrion as Target of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 May 7;16(9). pii: E1586. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16091586. Review. PubMed PMID: 31067632; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6539770.
  • Simakova M, Tobiasz A, Sullivan RD, Bisen S, Duncan J, Sullivan JP, Davison S, Tate DL, Barnett S, Mari G, Dopico AM, Bukiya AN. Gestational Age-Dependent Interplay between Endocannabinoid Receptors and Alcohol in Fetal Cerebral Arteries. J Drug Alcohol Res. 2019;8. pii: 236068. doi: 10.4303/jdar/236068. PubMed PMID: 31057979; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6497414.
  • North K, Tobiasz A, Sullivan RD, Bursac Z, Duncan J, Sullivan JP, Davison S, Tate DL, Barnett S, Mari G, Bukiya AN. Prenatal Alcohol Exposure, Anesthesia, and Fetal Loss in Baboon Model of Pregnancy. J Drug Alcohol Res. 2018 Jun;7. pii: 236064. PubMed PMID: 30656064; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6333472.

View more references (pubmed link)

May 26, 2022