Professional Profile

Richard C. Deth, Ph.D.

Photo Professor
Dept: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Phone: 954-262-1332
Campus: Fort Lauderdale

Dr. Richard Deth joined Nova Southeastern University in September of 2014 after 38 years as a faculty member at Northeastern University. He is a molecular neuroscientist with a research interest in a number of brain disorders, including autism. His laboratory has a particular focus on the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopment and changes that occur during aging, as well as the mechanisms which provide the capacity for attention and learning. This work involves an appreciation of unique metabolic features of neurons, especially factors influencing levels of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH) and its influence over methylation reactions, including DNA methylation. Methylation of DNA is a fundamental event in epigenetic regulation of gene expression, which drives development and allows adaptive responses to oxidation across the lifespan. In 2003 Dr. Deth published a monograph entitled: Molecular Origins of Human Attention: The Dopamine-Folate Connection. During the past 10 years Dr. Deth has worked closely with autism families and several parent-supported autism organizations. Dr. Deth’s lab recently reported the ability of casein and gluten-derived opiate peptides, as well as morphine, to impair transport of the amino acid cysteine, which adversely affects antioxidant levels and leads to epigenetic consequences. His ongoing research incudes studies of the effects of neurotoxic substances on antioxidant and methylation status and autism-related changes in antioxidant and methylation status, as well as vitamin B12 levels in post mortem brain tissues. These same factors are involved in other a number of neurological and neuroimmune conditions.

Recent Publications
  • Terhune TD, Deth RC. A role for impaired regulatory T cell function in adverse responses to aluminum adjuvant-containing vaccines in genetically susceptible individuals. Vaccine. 32(40):5149-55 (2014).
  • Trivedi MS, Shah JS, Al-Mughairy S, Hodgson NW, Simms B, Trooskens GA, Van Criekinge W, Deth RC. Food-derived opioid peptides inhibit cysteine uptake with redox and epigenetic consequences. J Nutr Biochem. 25(10):1011-8 (2014).
  • Raymond LJ, Deth RC, Ralston NV. Potential Role of Selenoenzymes and Antioxidant Metabolism in relation to Autism Etiology and Pathology. Autism Res Treat. 2014:164938 (2014).
  • Hodgson NW, Waly MI, Al-Farsi YM, Al-Sharbati MM, Al-Farsi O, Ali A, Ouhtit A, Zang T, Zhou ZS, Deth RC. Decreased glutathione and elevated hair mercury levels are associated with nutritional deficiency-based autism in Oman. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 239(6):697-706 (2014).
  • Trivedi M, Shah J, Hodgson N, Byun HM, Deth R. Morphine induces redox-based changes in global DNA methylation and retrotransposon transcription by inhibition of excitatory amino acid transporter type 3-mediated cysteine uptake. Mol Pharmacol. 85(5):747-57 (2014).
Research Interests:
My lab is primarily focused on the relationship between antioxidant status and methylation, especially DNA methylation as it pertains to epigenetic regulation in the brain. Our work is centrally relevant to neurodevelopment and aging, as well as a number of brain disorders including autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidant status and methylation capacity are abnormal in each of these conditions, as well as in chronic fatigue disorder and Gulf War Illness. Evaluation of vitamin B12 status during neurodevelopment and aging, as well as in neurological disorders is a recent focus of our research efforts.
Research Interests keywords:
aging, autism, Down syndrome, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War Illness, epigenetic, methylation, glutathione, oxidative stress, vitamin B12, methionine synthase

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