University of Vermont

The University of Vermont Cancer Center

Bio for Diane Jaworski, Ph.D.
Diane Jaworski, Ph.D.

Diane Jaworski, Ph.D.

Contact Information
Office Location:
Neurological Sciences, Health Sci Rsrch Facility Rm 418


1991-1995: Postdoctoral Fellow, Section of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
1987-1991: Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Department of Biology, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX
1982-1983: M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Texas, Arlington, TX
1979-1981: Post-baccalaureate: Secondary Education Certification, Wayne State University, Detroit MI
1976-1979: B.S. in Biology, Wayne State University, Detroit MI

Academic Appointments

2015: Visiting Professor, American University of the Caribbean, St. Martin
2012-Present: Professor, UVM College of Medicine, Department of Neurological Sciences
2011: Visiting Professor, Instituto de Biotecnología Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, México
2001-2012: Associate Professor, UVM College of Medicine, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
1995-2001: Assistant Professor, UVM College of Medicine, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
1990-1991: Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Natural and Social Sciences, North Lake Community College, Irving, TX
1981-1987: Teacher, Irving Independent School District, Nimitz High School, Irving, TX

Academic Interests

Dr. Jaworski teaches undergraduate, graduate Neuroscience, and medical students. In the fall term, she presents all of the lectures on Central Nervous System structure, function, and pathology in the undergraduate Human Anatomy & Physiology ANPS 19 course. In the spring term, she lectures, teaches in the Neuroanatomy laboratories, and serves as a small group discussion facilitator in the first year medical student Vermont Integrated Curriculum Neural Science course. As needed, she also participates in the Developmental Neurobiology and Neurochemistry courses for students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program.


Dr. Jaworski's laboratory utilizes a wide variety of in vitro and in vivo cellular and molecular biological approaches to investigate the role of extracellular matrix proteolysis in the normal and diseased nervous system, with particular emphasis on gliomagenesis. Our ability to cure glioma is greatly hindered by the fact that at the time of diagnosis tumor cells have invaded to distant sites, making surgical resection palliative rather than curative. Another treatment challenge is recurrence due to the persistence of chemotherapy and radiation resistant glioma stem cells. The hypothesis being tested is that restoration of acetate bioavailability may provide a safe and efficacious means to reduce glioma cell growth. N-acetylaspartate (NAA) is the most concentrated metabolic sources of acetate in the human brain, but the enzyme that cleaves NAA to generate acetate, aspartoacylase (ASPA), is down-regulated in glioma. The lab has demonstrated that the FDA approved food additive Triacetin (glyceryl triacetate, GTA) can bypass ASPA deficiency to serve as an acetate delivery vehicle. Unlike free acetate, GTA can freely cross the blood-brain barrier and enter cells. Pre-clinical studies in the lab have shown that GTA reduces glioma stem cell growth in vitro and enhances chemotherapeutic efficacy to increase survival of mice orthotopically grafted with glioma stem-like cells. GTA has been chronically administered to infants with an ASPA mutation with no adverse side effects. An international PCT patent protects develop of GTA as a chemotherapeutic adjuvant. The goal is to establish the safety of GTA in adults through a phase I clinical trial.

Awards and Honors

2015: Recipient of COM Inclusive Excellence in Medicine Award
2015: Nominee for COM AMSA Golden Apple Award
2014: Recipient of the UVM Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award
2010, 2011, 2015: Nominee for COM Above and Beyond Award
2010, 2015: Nominee for COM AMWA Gender Equity Award
2010, 2015: Nominee for Dean Washaw Integration Award
2009: Nominee for Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award
2009, 2015: Nominee for COM Silver Stethoscope Teaching Award
2003-2006, 2011, 2012, 2015: Nominee for COM Basic Science/Foundation Teacher of the Year Award
2003, 2011: Recipient of COM American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) Gender Equity Award
1991: Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Texas Woman's University
1991: Outstanding Doctoral Graduate Award, Texas Woman's University

Professional Activities

2004-Present: COM Admissions Committee Member
2005-2011, 2013-Present: COM Medical Curriculum Committee Member
2014-Present: COM Dean's Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
2014-Present: COM American Medical Women's Association Student Interest Group Advisor
2015-Present: Community Medical School Select Board Member
1997-1999, 2009-2012: COM Faculty Standards Committee Member
2004-2006: President, VT Chapter Society for Neuroscience
2010-2011: Vermont Regional Brain Bee Organizer and Officiate
1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009-2011, 2014-2015: Girl’s Science Discovery Day Presenter
Ad Hoc Reviewer: NIH, NSF, Alzheimer's Foundation, UK The Big C, UK Wellcome Trust


“DNA encoding BEHAB, a brain hyaluronan-binding protein, and recombinant expression systems for production of BEHAB polypeptides.”
U.S. Patent 5,635,370.  Filed 4/8/94; issued 6/3/97.
Applicants: Susan J. Hockfield and Diane M. Jaworski

Methods and Compounds for Treating Cancer
US Application 14/233,301, Filed July 19, 2012 (claiming priority to July 19, 2011)
Published under: US 20140142152 A1
Applicant: Diane M. Jaworski


Tsen AR, PM Long, Driscoll, MT Davies, BA Teasdale, PL Penar, WW Pendlebury, JL Spees, SE Lawler, MS Viapiano, DM Jaworski. (2014) Triacetin-based acetate supplementation as a chemotherapeutic adjuvant therapy in glioma. International Journal of Cancer 134:1300-10.

Long PM, SW Tighe, HE Driscoll, JR Moffett, AM Namboodiri, MS Viapiano, SE Lawler, DM Jaworski. (2013) Acetate Supplementation Induces Growth Arrest of NG2/PDGFRa-Positive Oligodendroglioma-Derived Tumor-Initiating Cells. PLoS One 2013 8:e80714.

Long PM, JR Moffett, AMA Namboodiri, MS Viapiano, SE Lawler, DM Jaworski. (2013) N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) promote growth and inhibit differentiation of glioma stem-like cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry 288:26188-200.

Thirkettle S, J Decock, H Arnold, CJ Pennington, DM Jaworski, DR Edwards. (2013) Matrix metalloproteinase 8 (collagenase 2) induces the expression of interleukins 6 and 8 in breast cancer cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry 288:16282-94.

Long PM, HM Stradecki, JE Minturn, UV Wesley, and DM Jaworski. (2011) Differential aminoacylase expression in neuroblastoma. International Journal of Cancer. 129:1322-30.

Rivera S, M Khrestchatisky, L Kaczmarek, GA Rosenberg, and DM Jaworski. (2010) Metzincin Proteases and their Inhibitors: Foes or Friends in Nervous System Physiology? Journal of Neuroscience 30: 5337-57.

Perez-Martinez L and DM Jaworski. (2005) Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 promotes neuronal differentiation by acting as an anti-mitogenic signal. Journal of Neuroscience 25:4917-29.

View a complete list of Dr. Jaworski's articles via PubMed.