Philip Laipis, Ph.D.
Research: Eukaryotic gene regulation, organization, and evolution
Ph.D., Stanford, 1972
Office: ARB, R2-254
Professor Philip Laipis received the Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University in 1972. His thesis research with Dr. A.T. Ganesan examined the role of DNA polymerases and DNA ligase in repair and recombination of B. subtilis DNA. He joined A.J. Levine’s laboratory at Princeton University as an NIH postdoctoral fellow, and he studied replicating SV40 viral DNA. He joined the University of Florida in 1974. He rose to the rank of Professor in 1986. Dr. Laipis has served on the NIH Physiological Chemistry and Therapeutic Approaches to Genetic Disease Study Sections and since 1997 has been the Associate Chair of the Department.
My lab studies phenylketonuria (PKU), a common inborn error of metabolism in man, affecting about 1 in 16,000 births in the United States. Our studies are primarily carried out in a mouse model of this disorder. We initially attempted therapeutic approaches to PKU treatment via gene therapy. While successful in mice, this approach could not be easily extended to humans. We moved to using enzyme replacement therapy with phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), a cyanobacterial enzyme. Treatment of mice with a recombinant, post-translationally modified form of PAL results in long-term suppression of PKU symptoms, including Maternal PKU Syndrome. Phase I human clinical trials were successful, and Phase II trials of PAL in adult PKU patients are in progress. The current focus of my lab is to extend the studies in adult mice to pregnant and newborn mice. These will provide pre-clinical data for future human trials in pregnant women and young children.