Willard Freeman, Ph.D. - Harold Hamm Diabetes Center

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Willard Freeman, Ph.D.

Research interests include the regulation of the genome through epigenetic mechanisms, including how stimuli cause persistent epigenome changes that affect cellular function throughout life, and the accumulation of mutations and deletions to the mitochondrial genome with aging and diabetes.

Willard Freeman, Ph.D.

Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Aging Research
Associate Professor of Physiology
Adjunct Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine
Member, Harold Hamm Diabetes Institute
Associate Member, Stephenson Cancer Center
Research Scientist, Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center

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Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Emory University School of Medicine
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Oregon Health & Science University
Doctoral Studies, Wake Forest University School of Medicine (Pharmacology)      
Bachelor's Degree, Wake Forest University

Grant Funding:

2019-2024 Cellular and Molecular GeroScience CoBRE. 1P20GM125528 NIGMS/NIH $1,675,211 NIGMS/NIH Role: Co-I/Core Director 

2018-2019 Sex divergence and cell specificity of age-related hippocampal DNA modifications. 1R56AG059430-01 NIA/NIH $557,939 Role: PI. 

2018-2022 Dynamics of the brain epigenome with aging. I01BX003906 VA $1,034,0342 Role: PI.

2018-2022 A new pathogenic mechanism for diabetic retinopathy. R01EY019309 NEI/NIH$1,420,000 Role: Co-I.

2016-2022 Mentoring Diabetes Research in Oklahoma P30GM122744 NIGMS/NIH Role: Co-I, PI of Pilot Project Core. 

2015-2020 Oklahoma Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging. P30AG050911 NIA/NIH $770,000 Role Co-I, PI of Core. 

2014-2019 Effect of HPV16 and ART on the epigenome leading to AIDS-Associated oral cancer. 1R01DE024964 NIDCR/NIH $680,689 Role: Co-I, PI of subcontract.

2019 ShEEP Request for Laser Microdissection Instrument. IS1BX004812 VA $238,674 Role: PI. 

2019-2021 Does dietary restriction alter stem cell function trough an epigenetic mechanism? R21AG062894 NIA/NIH $416,099 Role: Co-PI. 

2019-2024 Microbiome-triggered reprogramming and mutation of colon epithelial cells leading to tumor stem-like cells. 1R01CA230641-01A1 NCI/NIH Role: Co-I. 

Selected Publications:

Unnikrishnan A, Freeman WM, Jackson J, Wren JD, Porter H, Richardson A. The role of DNA methylation in epigenetics of aging. Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2019; 195:172-185.

Hadad N, Unnikrishnan A, Jackson JA, Masser DR, Otalora L, Stanford DR, Richardson A, Freeman WM. Caloric restriction mitigates age-associated hippocampal differential CG and non-CG methylation. Neurobiology of Aging 2018; 67:53-66.

Steyn FJ, Ngo ST, Chen VP, Brimijoin S, Freeman WM, Xie TY, Ghdami M, Low MJ, Stout MB. 17 estradiol acts through hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin expressing neurons to reduce feeding behavior. Aging Cell 2018; 17:e12703.

Masser DR, Hadad N, Porter H, Stout MB, Unnikrishnan A, Stanford DR, Freeman WM. Analysis of DNA modifications in aging research. Geroscience 2018; 40:11-29. 

Unnikrishnan A, Hadad N, Masser DR, Jackson J, Freeman WM, Richardson A. Revisiting the genomic hypomethylation hypothesis of Aging. Annals NY Academy of Science 2018; 1418:69-79.

Masser DR, Niran Hadad N, Mangold CA, Unnikrishnan A, Ford MM, Giles CB, Georgescu C, Dozmorov MG, Wren JD, Richardson A, Stanford DR, Freeman WM. Sexually divergent DNA methylation patterns with brain aging. Aging Cell 2017; 16:1342-1352.

Mangold CA, Wronowski B, Du M, Masser DR, Hadad N, Bixler GV, Brucklacher RM, Ford MM, Sonntag WE, Freeman WM. Sexually divergent induction of microglial-associated neuroinflammation with hippocampal aging. Journal of Neuroinflammation 2017; 14:141.

Unnikrishnan A, Jackson J, Matyi S, Hadad N, Wronowski B, Georgescu C, Garrett K, Wren J, Freeman WM, Richardson A. Role of DNA methylation in the dietary restriction mediated cellular memory. Geroscience 2017; 39:331-345.

Masser DR, Otalora L, Clark NW, Kinter MT, Elliott MH, Freeman WM. Functional neural retinal changes occur in the absence of mitochondrial dysfunction in a rodent model of diabetic retinopathy. Journal of Neurochemistry 2017 143(5):595-608.