Throughout his life and career, Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., a neuroscience, molecular pharmacology, and physiology researcher, has maintained involvement in a vast array of professional, academic, and personal endeavors, attaining a high degree of achievement in each of his pursuits. As an Associate Professor with tenure at the University of South Florida, D’Agostino 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, cell metabolism, and signaling. 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 molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University, as well as a 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.
Dominic D’Agostino has volunteered his time, energy, and resources to a variety of worthy causes in the United States and abroad, helping children and families in underserved communities. A member of Tampa International Mission Empowerment (T.I.M.E.) 4:13, D’Agostino frequently travels with this group on humanitarian missions to Mexico, Honduras and Puerto Rico, where he and his colleagues provide essential services to communities and organizations that assist in animal rescue for organizations such as Compassion Kind. In addition, Dominic D’Agostino has served as a mentor for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America and various nonprofits 501(c)(3) internationally and locally, like Winning the Fight against Neurodegenerative Diseases.