Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., has maintained involvement in a vast array of professional, academic and personal endeavors. As an Associate Professor with tenure at the University of South Florida, Dom teaches students of the Morsani College of Medicine and the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, with a focus on such topics as neuropharmacology, medical biochemistry, physiology, neuroscience, and neuropharmacology. He is also a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) to assist with their efforts towards optimizing the safety, health and resilience of the warfighter and astronaut.
His laboratory develops and tests metabolic-based strategies for targeting CNS oxygen toxicity (seizures), epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. To investigate the mechanism of these pathologies he uses a variety of in vivo and in vitro techniques, including radio-telemetry (EEG, EMG), electrophysiology, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), biochemical assays and in vivo bioluminescence imaging. His laboratory has adapted many of these techniques for use inside environmental chambers, which allows them to manipulate oxygen concentrations (from hypoxia to hyperbaric oxygen). His current project is to identify cellular mechanisms of seizures from CNS oxygen toxicity and to develop mitigation strategies against it. His efforts have focused specifically on measuring brain EEG, neuronal excitability, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and biomarkers of oxidative stress. The main focus of his lab over the last 10 years has been understanding the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective mechanism of the ketogenic diet and ketone metabolite supplementation. The shift in brain metabolism (from glucose to ketones) reduces neuronal hyperexcitability, oxidative stress and enhances brain energy metabolism. This approach can be used to treat a wide variety of pathologies linked pathophysiologically to metabolic dysregulation, including cancer. Other areas of interest include researching drugs that target cancer-specific metabolic pathways. He was a research investigator and crew member on NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO 22) and has a personal interest in environmental medicine and methods to enhance safety and physiological resilience in extreme environments. His research is supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of Defense (DoD), private organizations and foundations.
With a wide range of research interests, Dominic D’Agostino holds membership in the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society, Aerospace Medical Association, Society of Neuroscience, American Physiological Society, and the American Association of Cancer Research, additionally serving on numerous editorial boards and as a Reviewer for dozens scholarly publications. Before joining the faculty at USF, D’Agostino completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. A graduate of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University, Dominic D’Agostino earned his Ph.D. and B.S. from these respective institutions.
- 1994 – 1998: B.S. Nutritional Sciences and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
- 1999~2004 Ph.D. Neuroscience and Physiology; Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (UMDNJ), New Brunswick, NJ
- Doctoral Dissertation: “Heme oxygenase is necessary for hypoxic chemosensitivity of cultured rostral ventrolateral medulla neurons” September 3, 2004; UMDNJ-RWJMS (MEB) Mentor: Judith A. Neubauer, Ph.D.
Academic Employment and research experience
- 2004~2006: Postdoctoral Fellow (Mentor: Prof. Jay B. Dean) Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology) Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, OH
- 2006~2008: Postdoctoral Fellow Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa FL
- 2008~2010: Research Assistant Professor (Non-Tenure Track) Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa FL
- 2010~2015: Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa FL
- 2016~Present: Associate Professor (Tenured) Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa FL
- 2014~Present: Visiting Research Scientist Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) Ocala, FL 34471