Diane Hardej, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Metal toxicity is a major area of concern and has been implicated in a number of disease conditions ranging from induction of carcinogenesis to neurodegenerative diseases. With regard to metal toxicity, the lab is investigating the effects of ethylene bisdithiocarbamate pesticides on human gastrointestinal cells. These pesticides contain the metal manganese (Mn). Mn is a required trace metal in humans, but has been implicated in toxicity particularly in the nervous system. Ingestion is a common route of exposure of pesticides both occupationally and through food sources, yet very little work has been done on gastrointestinal toxicity of these agents. Research on area has been published and work continues to further knowledge on gastrointestinal effects. Neurotoxicity and gastrointestinal toxicity of the metalloid tellurium (Te) has also been evaluated and published. Increasing use of Te in industrial applications is likely to increase human exposure. Research in this area has explored mechanisms of cell death of tellurium compounds as well as alterations to cellular antioxidant defenses. The lab has trained a number of students, including Ph.D.s in Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as MS students in toxicology and pharmacology and BS/MS students in toxicology. The goal of the lab is to train students to be competent scientists and researchers in the field of toxicology and pharmacology. Students in the laboratory have published their significant research and presented consistently at the Society of Toxicology annual meetings as well as St. John’s University research events. Many of the graduate students participate in toxicology education and outreach to K-12 students. The lab has had the distinction of training an American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Sciences (AFPE) Pre-doctoral Fellow and NY Academy of Sciences (NYAS) teaching fellow. Graduate students have served the University by acting as graduate assistants and teaching fellows, which have enhanced their training as science communicators for future careers.

Courses Taught





Select Publications

Journal Articles

Hardej, D. (2013). The synthesis and SAR study of phenylalanine-derived (Z)-5-arylmethylidene rhodanines as anti-methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) compounds.. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Hardej, D. (2012). Ethylene bisdithiocarbamate pesticides cause cytotoxicity in transformed and normal human colon cells.. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology.

Hardej, D. (2011). Tellurium tetrachloride and diphenyl ditelluride cause cytotoxicity in rat hippocampal astrocytes. Chemical Toxicology.

Hardej, D. (2010). The synthesis of phenylalanine-derived C5 substituted rhodanines and their activity against selected methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains.. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Hardej, D. (2008). Aerosolized Lysozyme Mitigates P. aeruginosa Pneumonia in Hamsters. Experimental Lung Research.36:1–7 Vijayalaxmi Radkar, Cesar Lau-Cam, Diane Hardej and Blase Billack(2008). The role of surface receptor stimulation on the cytotoxicity of resveratrol to macrophages.. Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Hardej, D. (2007). Ebselen protects brain, skin, lung and blood cells from mechlorethamine toxicity. . Toxicology and Industrial Health..

Hardej, D. (2007). Evaluation of resveratrol and piceatannol cytotoxicity in macrophages, T cells and skin cells. . Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology..

Hardej, D. (2007). Evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of ebselen: role of the yeast plasma membrane H+-ATPase. Journal of Molecular and Biochemical Toxicology.