Thomas N. Wight, PhD
Dr. Wight completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Maine and his graduate degree (PhD) at the University of New Hampshire. His post-doctoral training was at the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Following post-doctoral training, he moved back to New England and joined the faculty in Cell Biology at the University of New Hampshire as an Assistant Professor. He rejoined the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington in 1979 and was promoted to Full Professor in 1988. In 2000, he joined The Hope Heart Institute in Seattle as Chair of Vascular Biology and remained an Affiliate Professor of Pathology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He has been named an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, served on National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association Study Sections, and served on several editorial boards. Dr. Wight served as Co-Chair of the Proteoglycan Gordon Conference in 2008. His research focuses on the role of proteoglycans in regulating cell phenotype and extracellular matrix assembly. He has published over 290 articles on proteoglycans and hyaluronan. He is currently Director of the Matrix Biology Program at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.
Area of Research
Projects in Dr. Wight’s Laboratory involve defining the role that proteoglycans play in vascular diseases including atherosclerosis and restenosis, diseases of the lung such as asthma and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. Special emphasis is placed on how these extracellular matrix molecules influence events associated with inflammation. Other projects involve developing the use of proteoglycan genes and products of those genes to bioengineer vascular tissue in order to maintain normal vasculature structure. Specific projects in this area include evaluating the mechanism(s) by which proteoglycans influence extracellular matrix assembly such as formation of elastic fibers. Projects related to this tissue engineering approach include developing “designer extracellular matrices” to be used in the treatment and engineering of tissues destroyed by trauma and/or disease.
Nagy N, Sunkari VG, Kaber G, Hasbun S, Lam DN, Speake C, Sanda S, McLaughlin TL, Wight TN, Long SR, Bollyky PL. Hyaluronan levels are increased systemically in human type 2 but not type 1 diabetes independently of glycemic control. Matrix Biol. In press, 2018.
Reeves SR, Kang I, Chan CK, Barrow KA, Kolstad TK, White MP, Ziegler SF, Wight TN, Debley JS. Asthmatic bronchial epithelial cells promote the establishment of a hyaluronan-enriched, leukocyte-adhesive extracellular matrix by lung fibroblasts. Respir Res. 19(1):146, 2018.
Wall VZ, Barnhart S, Kanter JE, Kramer F, Shimizu-Albergine M, Adhikari N, Wight TN, Hall JL, Bornfeldt KE. Smooth muscle glucose metabolism promotes monocyte recruitment and atherosclerosis in a mouse model of metabolic syndrome. JCI Insight. 3:e96544, 2018.
Wight TN. A role for proteoglycans in vascular disease. Matrix Biol. 71-72:396-420, 2018.
Kang I, Chang MY, Wight TN, Frevert CW. Proteoglycans as immunomodulators of the innate immune response to lung infection. J Histochem Cytochem. 66:241-259, 2018.
Nagy N, de la Zerda A, Kaber G, Johnson PY, Hu KH, Kratochvil MJ, Yadava K, Zhao W, Cui Y, Navarro G, Annes JP, Wight TN, Heilshorn SC, Bollyky PL, Butte MJ. Hyaluronan content governs tissue stiffness in pancreatic islet inflammation. J Biol Chem. 293:567-578, 2018.
Chang MY, Kang I, Gale M Jr, Manicone AM, Kinsella MG, Braun KB, Wigmosta T, Parks WC, Altemeier WA, Wight TN, Frevert CW. Versican is produced by Trif- and type I interferon-dependent signaling in macrophages and contributes to fine control of innate immunity in lungs. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 313:L1069-L1086, 2017.
Kikuchi S, Chen L, Xiong K, Saito Y, Azuma N, Tang G, Sobel M, Wight TN, Kenagy RD. Smooth muscle cells of human veins show an increased response to injury at valve sites. J Vasc Surg. 67:1556-70, 2018.
Wight TN, Frevert CW, Debley JS, Reeves SR, Parks WC, Ziegler SF. Interplay of extracellular matrix and leukocytes in lung inflammation. Cell Immunol. 312:1-14, 2017.
Gaucherand L, Falk BA, Evanko SP, Workman G, Chan CK, Wight TN. Crosstalk between T lymphocytes and lung fibroblasts: Generation of a hyaluronan-enriched extracellular matrix adhesive for monocytes. J Cell Biochem. 118:2118-2130, 2017.
Wight TN. Provisional matrix: A role for versican and hyaluronan. Matrix Biol. 60-61:38-56, 2017.
Kang I, Harten IA, Chang MY, Braun KR, Sheih A, Nivison MP, Johnson PY, Workman G, Kaber G, Evanko SP, Chan CK, Merrilees MJ, Ziegler SF, Kinsella MG, Frevert CW, Wight TN. Versican deficiency significantly reduces lung inflammatory response induced by poly I:C stimulation. J Biol Chem. 292(1):51-63, 2017.
Merrilees MJ, Zuo N, Evanko SP, Day AJ, Wight TN. G1 domain of versican regulates hyaluronan organization and the phenotype of cultured human dermal fibroblasts. J Histochem Cytochem. 64:353-363, 2016.
Reeves SR, Kaber G, Sheih A, Cheng G, Aronica MA, Merrilees MJ, Debley JS, Frevert CW, Ziegler SF, Wight TN. Subepithelial accumulation of versican in a cockroach antigen-induced murine model of allergic asthma. J Histochem Cytochem. 64:364-390, 2016.
Kuipers HF, Rieck M, Gurevich I, Butte MJ, Negrin RS, Wight TN, Steinman L, Bollyky PL. Hyaluronan synthesis is necessary for autoreactive T cell trafficking, activation, and Th1 polarization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113:1339-44, 2016.
Keire PA, Bressler SL, Mulvihill ER, Starcher BC, Kang I, Wight TN. Inhibition of versican expression by siRNA facilitates tropoelastin synthesis and elastic fiber formation by human SK-LMS-1 leiomyosarcoma smooth muscle cells in vitro and in vivo. Matrix Biol. 50:67-81, 2016.
Han CY, Tang C, Guevara ME, Wei H, Wietecha T, Shao B, Subramanian S, Omer M, Wang S, O’Brien KD, Wight TN, Vaisar T, de Beer MC, de Beer FC, Osborne WR, Elkon KB, Chait A. Serum amyloid A impairs the anti-inflammatory properties of HDL. J Clin Invest. 126:266-281, 2016.
Nagy N, Kaber G, Johnson PY, Gebe JA, Preisinger A, Falk BA, Sunkari VG, Gooden MD, Vernon RB, Bogdani M, Kuipers HF, Day AJ, Campbell DJ, Wight TN, Bollyky PL. Inhibition of hyaluronan synthesis restores immune tolerance during autoimmune insulitis. J Clin Invest. 25:3928-40, 2015.
Kang I, Barth JL, Sproul EP, Yoon DW, Workman GA, Braun KR, Argraves WS, Wight TN. Expression of V3 versican by rat arterial smooth muscle cells promotes differentiated and anti-inflammatory phenotypes. J Biol Chem. 290:21629-41, 2015.