Dobrian, Anca D.



  • Dr. Anca Dobrian earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute in Bucharest, Romania and a PhD degree from Institute of Cellular Biology and Pathology "Nicolae Simionescu" of the Romanian Academy, in 1997. She is Professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. Dobrian's current research interests are focused on the biology of adipose tissue and the role of extracellular vesicles in co-morbidities of obesity such as insulin resistance, liver disease and cancer. Dr. Dobrian received funding from Department of Defense, NIH-NHLBI, American Heart Association and VBHRC/CHRB. Dr. Dobrian is a Fellow of the American Heart Association and represents EVMS to the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies at AAMC. Dr. Dobrian is also a passionate educator and mentor for graduate and medical students. Dr. Dobrian is an inductee Master Educator of EVMS Fine Family Academy of Medical Educators and Director of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs at EVMS.

selected publications

research overview

  • The focus of Dobrian lab research is on mechanisms of adipose tissue remodeling and co-morbidities of obesity.

    Project 1: Vascular remodeling in obesity and role of endothelial extracellular vesicles. Adipose tissue plasticity requires cellular adaptation of multiple cell types to accommodate long term caloric intake fluctuations. Endothelial cell is one of the key cells that support such plasticity. A number of maladaptive changes in the endothelium may have paracrine and endocrine effects on other vascular beds. Our work is focused on understanding the role of extracellular vesicles produced by dysfunctional endothelium in obese adipose tissue on phenotype and function of endothelial cells from distant vascular beds; including coronary endothelium and tumor vasculature. The mechanisms underlying these effects include transfer of metabolic and angiostatic signatures via vesicular miRNA transcriptome and proteome.

    Project 2 : Adipogenic potential of human adipose tissue endothelial cells. We showed that a subset of human adipose tissue endothelial progenitors can trans-differentiate into functional white and beige adipocytes. We are currently investigating the pathways responsible for the robustness of adipogenic potential. Amongst those, the insulin signaling and TGFβ signaling are a primary focus and miRNAs that can potentially target key signaling molecules in such pathways are currently under investigation.

    Project 3: Mechanisms that exacerbate liver disease and type2 diabetes due to sleep fragmentation. This is a collaborative project with Dr. Larry Sanford's lab in the Department of Pathology and Anatomy at EVMS. Using different mouse models of liver disease and type2 diabetes we currently investigate the role of miRNAs in extracellular vesicles on pro-fibrotic and inflammatory pathways in liver and pancreata.

preferred title

  • Professor of Physiological Sciences

full name

  • Anca D. Dobrian, PhD


Recent publications and grants in Researchers@EVMS