A researcher and professor with a diverse background in neuroscience, molecular pharmacology, nutrition and physiology, Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine. He is also a Research Scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). Dr. D’Agostino laid the foundations for his career as an undergraduate student and neuroscience researcher at Rutgers University studying the neural control of autonomic regulation. Shortly after receiving his B.S. in Biological Sciences and Nutritional Science in 1998, he received a Predoctoral Fellowship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1999 to pursue his doctorate. During his PhD studies he received two American Physiological Society (APS) awards in Respiratory Physiology, and the Proctor and Gamble Professional Opportunity Award in Physiology for his research on oxygen sensing neurons in the brainstem. Dr. D’Agostino earned his Ph.D. in 2004 and subsequently entered into a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in Ohio.
Dr. D’Agostino moved his research to USF Tampa in 2006 as a postdoctoral fellow funded by Office of Naval Research (ONR). Through multiple Department of Defense (DoD) grants his team developed unique technologies, including hyperbaric atomic force microscopy (HAFM) as tools to develop and test neuroprotective and metabolic-based therapies that have been patented for a wide range of conditions, including Central Nervous System (CNS) oxygen toxicity seizures (limitation of Navy SEAL divers), seizure disorders, Angelmans Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic diseases, wound healing, ALS and cancer. As a result, Dr. D’Agostino was awarded numerous grants that have resulted in national and international research collaborations and publications in such peer-reviewed journals as the Journal of Applied Physiology, Cell Metabolism, Neuroscience, Carcinogenesis, Nature Medicine, Journal of Neurophysiology, and the Journal of Microscopy.
Dr. D’Agostino has a personal interest in environmental medicine and methods to enhance safety, performance and resilience of military personal and astronauts in extreme environments. His research at the USF Hyperbaric Biomedical Research Laboratory led to his participation as a crew member on NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations 22 (NEEMO 22), during which time he tested various ketone technologies developed at USF. For this mission, Dr. D’Agostino mentored a team of research associates and students that spearheaded numerous IRB-approved research projects and was awarded the 2017 NASA NEEMO 22 USF/IHMC Research Team Award and NEEMO 22 Topside Support Crew Award. D’Agostino mentored students that have successfully entered numerous medical schools across the country and all major post-doctoral avenues, including industry, 501c3 foundations and academia, and continues to mentor current undergraduate and graduate students at USF. He continues to work closely in partnering with United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of Defense (DoD), numerous private organizations, foundations and local and international media outlets. As an example, his TEDx Tampa Bay described how his DoD/ONR-funded research and technology development serendipitously led to his cancer research studies currently being conducted at USF and Moffitt Cancer Center.
Dr. D’Agostino is very active in educational outreach programs which include over 150 conference presentations and has been a featured speaker in dozens of web-based education seminars, documentaries and various interviews and podcasts, some of which total over 1 million viewership. D’Agostino’s academic research and outreach is a large contributing factor into public interest in the ketogenic diet (“keto diet”), ketone supplementation and metabolic mimetics over the last 2 years.