Dr. Fonteh earned his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with Chemistry from Queen Mary College, University of London and his Masters of Science in Medicinal Chemistry from Loughborough University of Technology. Alfred completed his PhD in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Medicine (School of Pharmacy) of the University of London. His research interest for more than 25 years has been on the interactions of drugs with membrane lipids, receptors and enzymes. His interest in lipid signaling pathways led him to pursue postdoctoral studies at the Johns Hopkins University Asthma and Allergy Center, Baltimore, USA from 1990-91.
Dr. Fonteh’s desire to use state of the art technology (electrospray or chemical ionization mass spectroscopy coupled to gas or liquid chromatography) to characterize molecular species of phospholipids and fatty acids critical to allergic and inflammatory diseases enabled him to move to Wake Forest University School of Medicine initially as a Research Associate (1991-3), then an Instructor of Internal Medicine (1993-7) and subsequently as an Assistant Professor (1997-2001).
Dr. Fonteh has discovered very complex pathways critical in homeostatic control of omega-3 fatty acids in normal and diseased conditions. Importantly, he discovered and characterized a receptor in progenitor cells that control their growth and their ability to respond to extracellular signals. His collaboration with pharmaceutical companies has resulted in potential therapy of inflammation using receptor inhibitors or dietary interventions. His studies have been funded by the National Institute of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and have been published in various journals that are cited by his peers.
At HMRI since October 1, 2001, Dr. Fonteh intends to use his knowledge of lipid signaling pathways to discover therapeutic targets of neurological disorders. Specifically, using proteomics and modern lipidomic methods developed at HMRI, Alfred is identifying the major proteins and lipids in the cerebrospinal fluids and brain fractions that are potential indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, mild traumatic brain injury or migraine. The ultimate goal of his research effort would be to provide a biochemical basis for clinical observations from the Neurosciences Department and thus a rationale for diagnosis and/or treatment of these diseases.