Joyce Thompson

Role of NALP3 Inflammasome in Tumorigenesis of Mesothelioma


I graduated with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry in 2003 from the University of Ghana. I then worked as a high school English tutor for a year in 2007. I entered a Masters of Philosophy program at the University of Ghana in 2009 and just finished in December 2011. Arriving in Burlington the first week of January, I am looking forward to my first semester in the CMB graduate program. Some of my non-science interests include reading, listening to music and visiting new places.

Research Description

Exposure of human peritoneal mesothelial cells to asbestos results in the release of mature IL-1β processed by the NALP3 inlfammasome. This is believed to be one of the mechanisms through which asbestos causes chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been shown to be involved in tumorigenesis and fibrosis. Thus the NALP3 inflammasome may play a role in these processes in patients exposed to asbestos. To help understand how asbestos exposure leads to asbestosis and in some cases the rare cancer, mesothelioma, I will be looking at the regulation of asbestos-induced mesothelial to fibroblastic transition (MFT/EMT) by the NALP3 inflammasome as well as regulation of the inflammasome itself using in vitro and in vivo models.

Selected Publications

Thompson J and Shukla A. Asbestos risks: past and present (editorial). Air Water Borne Dis 2(1), 2013 (Editorial)

Jill Miller, Joyce Thompson and A. Shukla. Asbestos-Induced Oxidative Stress in Lung Pathogenesis. In, Laher I (ed.), Systems Biology of Free Radicals and Anti-Oxidants, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-30018-9_201, # Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. (Book chapter).

Hillegass JM, Miller JM, MacPherson MB, Catherine Westbom, Sayan M, Thompson JK, Macura SL, Perkins TN, Beuschel SL, Alexeeva V, Pass HI, Steele C, Mossman BT, and Shukla A: Asbestos and erionite prime and activate the NLRP3 inflammasome that stimulates autocrine cytokine release in human mesothelial cells. Particle and Fiber Toxicology, 10:39, 2013 doi:10.1186/1743-8977-10-39.

Joyce K. Thompson, Catherine Westbom and A Shukla, Malignant mesothelioma: development to therapy. J. Cell. Biochem., 115(1):1-7 2014 (invited review).

Jill M. Miller, Joyce K. Thompson, Maximilian B. MacPherson, Stacie L. Beuschel, Catherine M. Westbom, Mutlay Sayan, and Arti Shukla; Curcumin: A Double Hit on Malignant Mesothelioma (2014) Cancer Prevention Journal (Epub ahead of print).

Contact Info

Office: HSRF 214

Lab: HSRF 215


   Arti Shukla, Ph.D.

Upcoming Events

  • 4/22/2014 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
    Davis Auditorium
    Changjiang Yu
  • 5/6/2014 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
    Davis Auditorium
    Bob Bauer
  • 5/6/2014 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
    Davis Auditorium
    Andrew Little

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