Photo of Azam Tayabali

Azam Tayabali

Adjunct Research Professor

Degrees:B.Sc. (Ottawa), Ph.D. (Carleton)
Office:Environmental Health Centre, Health Canada,
Tunney’s Pasture,
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9

Current Research

Health Canada is responsible for assessing the risks associated with both new and existing substances.  My lab studies the toxicity of two broad types of substances.  (1) Microorganisms: Several different microorganisms are being developed for industrial, commercial, and environmental biotechnology applications, but they are often related to problematic clinical strains and could pose a hazard to humans. To understand their pathogenic potential, my lab develops methods to differentiate potentially hazardous strains from relatively safe ones. This is done by interrogating the test microorganism for virulence attributes such as toxin expression, biofilm formation, and resistance to antibiotics.  Mammalian cell effects are tested with several cytotoxicity and immunological signalling assays (e.g., pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemoattractants) and effectiveness of mammalian cell defence strategies (e.g., phagocytosis and macrophage-induced killing assays).  Animal exposures are used to mimic routes of exposure and to evaluate the induction of inflammatory and systemic acute phase responses, as well as acquired immune responses.  (2) Nanomaterials: The prevalence of nanomaterials in consumer products has stimulated research into their possible toxicological mechanisms of human health hazard. My laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanistic effects of nanomaterials (cadmium telluride quantum dots, silver and zinc oxide nanoparticles) and developing a systematic approach for understanding their cellular toxicity (e.g. oxidative stress, apoptosis). We are also interested in the effects of nanomaterials on the gut microbiota and potential effects on immunological stability.

Selected Publications

Tayabali, A.F., Zhang, Y., Fine, J.H., Caldwell, D., Navarro, M. (2018) Acellular Filtrates of a Microbial Based Cleaning Product Potentiates House Dust Mite Allergic Inflammation. Food and Chemical Toxicology: Special Issue on Microbial Based Cleaning Products. 116:32-41.

Zhang, Y., Nguyen, K.C., Caldwell, D., Fine, J.H., Lefebvre, D.E., and Tayabali, A.F. (2017) Immune Responses during Single and Repeated Murine Endotracheal Exposures of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles used in Sunscreen Formulations. NanoImpact 7:54-65.

Tayabali, A.F., Coleman, G., Crosthwait, J., Nguyen, K.C., and Shwed, P. (2017) Composition and Pathogenic Potential of a Microbial Bioremediation Product Used for Crude Oil Degradation. PLoS One 12(2): e0171911

Nguyen, K.C., Richards. L., Rippstein, P., Massarsky, A., Moon, T.W., and Tayabali, A.F. (2016) Toxicological Evaluation of Representative Silver Nanoparticles in Macrophages and Epithelial Cells. Toxicol in vitro.

Tayabali, A.F., Coleman, G., Nguyen, K.C. (2015) Virulence Attributes and Host Response Assays for Determining Pathogenic Potential of Pseudomonas Strains Used in Biotechnology. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0143604. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0143604

Nguyen, K.C., Tayabali, A.F., Willmore, W.G. (2015) Mitochondrial toxicity of cadmium telluride quantum dot nanoparticles in mammalian hepatocytes. Toxicological Sciences.  146(1):31-42