photo of Itsaso Garcia-Arcos

Itsaso Garcia-Arcos, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine - Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
Department of Cell Biology


Dr. Garcia-Arcos leads a team of scientists focused on lipid metabolism, surfactant lipid homeostasis, and cellular lipid uptake and usage during pulmonary and cardiovascular disease.

The lung is not usually considered as a highly metabolic organ, but alveolar type 2 cells need to maintain intense lipid metabolic activity to synthesize surfactant. Pulmonary surfactant is mainly composed of phospholipids and minor amounts of other lipids and specific proteins. Surfactant allows the lungs to inflate by decreasing the alveolar surface tension and the work needed for inspiration in each breathing cycle.  A delicate balance between synthesis, secretion, recycling and degradation of the lipids is required to maintain surfactant function and lung performance. While it has been known for decades that an adequate development of the alveolar surfactant system is essential for neonates, the role of lipid metabolism in adult lung disease is poorly understood despite accumulating evidence showing its relevance. In the lab, we use cell culture and in vivo models to study the regulation of surfactant homeostasis and its dysregulation during disease. Our experimental approaches include a wide variety of techniques in the areas of molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and physiology.

Details about the lab and research projects can be found in

Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellowships:

Cardiovascular disease, lipoprotein lipase and adipose tissue biology; lung lipid metabolism.  Columbia University, New York (2010-2014)

Pulmonary metabolism in smoke-related disease. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (2014-2015)

Doctoral Research:

Hepatic lipid metabolism and intracellular lipid droplets in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. University of the Basque Country, Vizcaya, Spain (2004-2009). PhD with European Doctor Recognition of the doctoral thesis.

Peroxisomal proteomics of aging. Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Sweden (visiting scholar, 2004)

intracellular protein interactions in pancreatic cells European Institute of Chemistry and Biology, University of Bordeaux, France (visiting scholar, 2007)

Grants (while in the US)

  • NHLBI 1R01HL148774 (PI) 2021-2026
  • NHLBI 1R56HL148774 (PI) 2019-2021
  • NHLBI PRIDE-CVD program (Scholar) 2021-2022
  • American Heart Association Grant-in-aid (PI) 2017-2019
  • Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute Young Clinical Scientist Award (PI) 2014-2020
  • American Heart Association Postdoctoral training award (PI) 2012-2014
  1. Garcia-Arcos I., Park SS., Mai M., Alvarez-Buve R., Chow L., Cai H., Baumlin-Schmid N., Agudelo CW., Martinez J., Kim MD., Dabo AJ., Salathe M., Goldberg IJ., Foronjy RF. (2022) “LRP1 loss in airway epithelium exacerbates smoke-induced oxidative damage and airway remodeling” J. Lipid Res. 63(4).
  2. Agudelo CW., Samaha G., Garcia-Arcos I., (2020) “Alveolar lipids in pulmonary disease. A review” Lipids in Health and Disease, (2020) 19:122.
  3. Agudelo CW., Kumley BK., Area-Gomez E., Xu Y., Dabo AJ., Geraghty P., Campos M., Foronjy R., Garcia-Arcos I., (2020) “Decreased surfactant lipids correlate with lung function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) PLoS One 15(2)
  4. Navarro-Imaz H, Ochoa B., Garcia-Arcos I., Martibez MJ., Chico Y., Fresnedo O., Rueda Y. (2020) “Molecular and cellular insights into the role of SND1 in lipid metabolism” Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids 1865(5)
  5. Chang CL., Garcia-Arcos I., Nyren R., OlivecronaG., Kim JY., Hu Y., Agrawal RR., Murphy AJ., Goldberg IJ., Deckelbaum RJ. (2018) “Lipoprotein lipase deficiency impairs bone marrow myelopoiesis and reduces circulating monocyte levels” Arterioscl Thromb Vasc Biol 30(3):509-19.
  6. Garcia-Arcos I., Geraghty P., Baumlin N., Campos M., Dabo AJ., Jundi B., Cummins N., Eden E., Grosche A., Salathe M., Foronjy R. (2016) “Chronic electronic cigarette exposure in mice induces COPD features in a nicotine-dependent manner” Thorax 71; 1119-1129
  7. Garcia-Arcos I., Hiyama Y., Drosatos K., Bharadwaj KG., Hu Y., Son NH., O'Byrne SM., Chang CL., Deckelbaum RJ., Takahashi M., Westerterp M., Obunike JC., Jiang H., Yagyu H., Blaner WS. and Goldberg IJ. (2013) “Adipose specific lipoprotein lipase deficiency more profoundly affects brown than white fat biology J Biol Chem 288 (20):14046-14058.
  8. Garcia-Arcos I., Gonzalez-Kother P., Aspichueta P., Rueda Y., Ochoa B. and Fresnedo O. (2010). "Lipid analysis reveals quiescent and regenerating liver-specific populations of lipid droplets" Lipids 45(12): 1101-1108.
  9. Garcia-Arcos I., Rueda Y., Gonzalez-Kother P., Palacios L., Ochoa B. and Fresnedo O. (2010). "Association of SND1 protein to low density lipid droplets in liver steatosis." J Physiol Biochem 66(1): 73-83.
  10. Mi J., Garcia-Arcos I., Alvarez R. and Cristóbal S. (2007). "Age-related subproteomic analysis of mouse liver and kidney peroxisomes" Proteome Sci 5: 19.

For a complete and updated list of my contributions to science, please see My Bibliography