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Cifarelli Lab

At the Cifarelli Lab, we study the role of the endothelium in tissue remodeling, inflammation and metabolic health.

We use primary and immortalized cells as well as animal models of diseases in combination with clinical and translation studies to investigate:

  • The role of lipids in endothelial dysfunction
  • Cross-family signaling in endothelial function
  • Inflammation during dysfunctional lipid metabolism


Headshot of Vincenza Cifarelli

Principal Investigator:
Vincenza Cifarelli, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology (2022-present)
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Center for Human Nutrition Washington University School of Medicine (2018-2022) 
Postdoc Fellow/Instructor, Washington University School of Medicine (2018)
Ph.D. in Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh of UPMC (2011)

Research Staff

Headshot of Jay Mcquillan

Jay McQuillan, B.S.
Western Illinois University (1984)

Graduate Students

  • Lucas Handlin, Rotating SLU Core Graduate Ph.D. Student

    B.S. Chemistry, Rockhurst University (2019)
    M.S. Biomedical Sciences, AT Still University (2022)

  • Silvia Gonzalez Nieves, Rotating SLU Core Graduate Ph.D. Student
    B.S. Biology, University of the Andes (2012)
    M.S. Biology, University of the Andes (2019)

Medical Students

Headshot of Morgan Ross

Morgan Ross, SLU 2024, Medical Student
B.S. University of Alabama (2020)

Graduate Students

Avya Surampalli



Cifarelli V, Peche V, Abumrad NA. Vascular and Lymphatic Regulation of Gastrointestinal Function and Disease Risk. BBA Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids.

Cifarelli V, Kuda OJ, Yang K Liu X, Gross RW, Pietka TA, Heo GS, Sultan D, Luehmann H, Lesser J, Ross M, Goldberg IJ, Gropler R, Liu Y, and Abumrad NA. Cardiac immune cell infiltration associates with abnormal lipid metabolism. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. Front. Cardiovasc. Med., 17 August 2022


Cifarelli V, Appak-Baskoy S, Peche VS, Kluzak A, Shew T, Narendran R, Pietka KM, Cella M, Walls CW, Czepielewski R, Ivanov S, Randolph GJ, Augustin HG, Abumrad NA. Visceral obesity and insulin resistance associate with CD36 deletion in lymphatic endothelial cells. Nature Communications. 2021 Jun 7;12(1):3350. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8184948. 

Cifarelli V, Beeman SC, Smith GI, Yoshino J, Morozov D, Beals JW, Kayser BD, Watrous JD, Jain M, Patterson BW, Klein S. Decreased adipose tissue oxygenation associates with insulin resistance in individuals with obesity. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2020, 130(12):6688-6699

Fuchs A, Samovski D, Smith GI, Cifarelli V, Farabi SS, Yoshino J, Pietka T, Chang SW, Ghosh S, Myckatyn TM, Klein S. Associations among adipose tissue immunology, inflammation and exosomes and insulin sensitivity in people with obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Gastroenterology. 2021 May 15; PubMed PMID: 34004161. 

Cifarelli V, Chen H, Scallan J. Editorial: The Role of the Lymphatic System in Lipid and Energy Metabolism, and Immune Homeostasis During Obesity and Diabetes. March 2021. Front. Physiol. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.652461.

Goldberg IJ, Cabodevilla AG, Samovski D, Cifarelli V, Basu D, Abumrad NA. Lipolytic enzymes and free fatty acids at the endothelial interface. Atherosclerosis 2021 Jul;329:1-8.

Job Postings 

A postdoc position is available immediately. Please contact Dr. Cifarelli at

If you are interested in Ph.D. training at the SLU School of Medicine, please see the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program:

View Program Details

Combined M.D.-Ph.D. training is also offered, and information for this program can be found here:

M.D./Ph.D. Program