Professor Tomat studied chemistry at the University of Trieste (Italy) and graduated summa cum laude in 2001. Elisa moved to the United States to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she joined the research group of Professor Jonathan Sessler. Following her postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the group of Professor Steve Lippard, Elisa joined the faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona in 2010. For her work as an academic scholar and educator, Professor Tomat is the recipient of a 2015 National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the 2017 College of Science Innovation in Teaching Award.
Professor Tomat is broadly interested in the role of transition metals, such as iron, copper and zinc, in human health and disease. A current focus of the Tomat research laboratory is on the involvement of iron in cancer growth. Motivated by the altered iron metabolism of cancer cells when compared to normal cells, we synthesize antiproliferative iron-binding compounds that are activated intracellularly and incorporate design elements to control redox chemistry, cellular uptake, and selectivity towards malignant cells. We are also examining the impact of iron chelators on macrophages and the implication of these immune cells in iron distribution within the tumor microenvironment.
Jung, M., C. Mertens, E. Tomat, and B. Brüne, "Iron as a Central Player and Promising Target in Cancer Progression.", Int J Mol Sci, vol. 20, issue 2, 2019 Jan 11.
PMCID: PMC6359419PMID: 30641920
Akam, E. A., R. D. Utterback, J. R. Marcero, H. A. Dailey, and E. Tomat, "Disulfide-masked iron prochelators: Effects on cell death, proliferation, and hemoglobin production.", J Inorg Biochem, vol. 180, pp. 186-193, 2018 03.
PMCID: PMC5956897PMID: 29324291
Mertens, C., E. Abureida Akam, C. Rehwald, B. Brüne, E. Tomat, and M. Jung, "Intracellular Iron Chelation Modulates the Macrophage Iron Phenotype with Consequences on Tumor Progression.", PLoS One, vol. 11, issue 11, pp. e0166164, 2016.
PMCID: PMC5091876PMID: 27806101
Akam, E. A., and E. Tomat, "Targeting Iron in Colon Cancer via Glycoconjugation of Thiosemicarbazone Prochelators.", Bioconjug Chem, vol. 27, issue 8, pp. 1807-12, 2016 08 17.
Akam, E. A., T. M. Chang, A. V. Astashkin, and E. Tomat, "Intracellular reduction/activation of a disulfide switch in thiosemicarbazone iron chelators.", Metallomics, vol. 6, issue 10, pp. 1905-12, 2014 Oct.
PMCID: PMC4188698PMID: 25100578