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Research Associate

I began working on gel-forming mucins in 1994 in the Department of Biochemistry at Duke University. Then I moved to the Cystic Fibrosis Center at UNC at Chapel Hill, where I continued to explore these fascinating glycoproteins until 2008.

After a hiatus of almost nine years in the biotechnology industry, other business paths, and some travelling across the beautiful USA, the opportunity to rejoin UNC-Chapel Hill within Dr. Boucher’s Marsico Lung Institute arose in 2017.

Many questions are still unanswered when it comes to how mucin-producing cells are able to handle so efficiently the biosynthesis, assembly, storage, and timely delivery of these (extremely) large macromolecules. Our current research efforts aim at developing novel experimental ways to approach these questions.

Selected Bibliography

  1. Mikami Y, Grubb BR, Rogers TD, Dang H, Asakura T, Kota P, Gilmore RC, Okuda K, Morton LC, Sun L, Chen G, Wykoff JA, Ehre C, Vilar J, van Heusden C, Livraghi-Butrico A, Gentzsch M, Button B, Stutts MJ, Randell SH, O’Neal WK, Boucher RC. Chronic airway epithelial hypoxia exacerbates injury in muco-obstructive lung disease through mucus hyperconcentration. Sci Transl Med. 2023 Jun 7;15(699):eabo7728. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abo7728. PMID: 37285404. PMCID: PMC10664029.
  2. Perez-Vilar J. Gastrointestinal Mucus Gel Barrier. In: Oral Delivery of Macromolecular Drugs: Barriers, Strategies and Future Trends. Ed. A Bernkop-Schnϋrch. Springer-Verlag, Viena/New York. pp. 21-48, 2009.
  3. Perez-Vilar JFormation of Mucin Granules. In: The Golgi Apparatus. State of the Art 110 years After Camillo Golgi’s Discovery. Eds. A Mironov & M Pavelka M. Springer-Verlag, Viena/New York. pp. 535-562, 2008.
  4. Perez-Vilar J, Mabolo R. Gel-forming mucins. Notions from in vitro studies. Histol Histopathol. 2007 Apr;22(4):455-64. doi: 10.14670/HH-22.455. PMID: 17290356.
  5. Perez-Vilar J. Mucin granule intraluminal organization. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2007 Feb;36(2):183-90. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2006-0291TR. Epub 2006 Sep 7. PMID: 16960124; PMCID: PMC2176109.
  6. Perez-Vilar J, Boucher RC. Reevaluating gel-forming mucins’ roles in cystic fibrosis lung disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Nov 15;37(10):1564-77. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2004.07.027. PMID: 15477008.




Juan Perez Vilar