Category: Muscle Biology and Heart Failure


Vasanth Vedantham, M.D.

Research Interests: Development and function of the cardiac conduction system; molecular regulation of cardiac pacemaker cells; mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias

 

Our lab is focused on cardiac pacemaker cells, specialized cardiomyocytes whose autonomous electrical activity allows the sinoatrial node to serve as the heart’s natural pacemaker. Specific questions include: How are pacemaker cells different from regular heart cells at the level of gene expression and regulation? How does their unique gene expression signature confer their distinctive electrophysiological properties? How have selection pressures generated functional differences in pacemaker cells among different vertebrate species? What are the molecular mechanisms that guide pacemaker cells to integrate electrically with the rest of the heart to form a node? How do pacemaker cell biology and function change in response to physiological and pathological stress? What is the mechanistic link between sinus node dysfunction and atrial fibrillation? Our approaches include mouse genetics, whole-animal and ex-vivo electrophysiology, cellular and molecular electrophysiology, gene expression analysis, and bioinformatics. Ultimately, we hope to design novel treatments for patients suffering from heart rhythm disorders, including sinus node dysfunction and atrial fibrillation

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Andrew J Connolly, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Interests:Basic and translational research in cardiovascular and pulmonary pathology

 

The goal of our research is to explore pathology of the heart, blood vessels, and lungs, using both patient materials and animal models. This includes the heart muscle disorders underlying heart failure, thrombotic occlusion of blood vessels, diseases of the aorta, and lung cancer models.

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Roshanak Irannejad, Ph.D.

irannejad

Research Interests: Internal membrane compartments as hubs of signaling

To function properly, cells and tissue must receive and interpret a large variety of signals. They do so, in part, through signaling receptors, some of which reside on cell surfaces known as plasma membranes. We study adrenergic receptors, which are targets of commonly used medicines including alpha and beta blockers. By developing a new class of sensors that allow for detection and visualization of signaling events in living cells, we made the unexpected finding that signaling cues to cells not only act on cell surface receptors but also on internal cellular compartments. This observation raises numerous questions pertaining to fundamental aspects of cell signaling and suggests that cells have spatially compartmentalized signaling hubs. This basic biological insight has clinical implications as well. For example, certain beta-blockers are known to have differential clinical efficacies but the underlying reasons for these differences are not known. We have found that different beta blockers act on distinct hubs of signaling. Beyond their well-established roles in cardiac physiology, adrenergic receptors regulate a wide variety of important physiologically and behavioral processes. We are using our newly developed tools to investigate the consequences of signaling from internal compartments on a range of cellular, physiological, and behavioral outcomes.

UCSF Profiles Page: http://profiles.ucsf.edu/roshanak.irannejad

 

 


Arthur Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.

Weiss

Research Interests:
Cell Surface Molecules and Molecular Events Involved in Lymphocyte Activation

Summary:
Dr. Weiss studies on how the functions of cells of the immune system are regulated. The immune system protects individuals from infections and malignancies. However, it is also involved in undesirable destructive responses, such as in autoimmune and allergic diseases as well as atherosclerosis and transplant rejection.

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Mark E Von Zastrow, Ph.D., M.D.

Von Zastrow

Research Interests:
Subcellular organization and dynamics of receptor-mediated signaling systems in eukaryotic cells.

Summary:
Our laboratory studies mechanisms by which receptors that control cardiovascular biology are regulated. These receptors are important therapeutic targets and their regulation is known to be disturbed in a number of important disease states.

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Matthew L Springer, Ph.D.

 

Matt 2016

Research Interests:
Angiogenesis, VEGF, stem cells, progenitor cells, gene therapy, heart failure, myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, cardiac regeneration, peripheral artery disease, vascular injury, nitric oxide, flavanols, skeletal muscle myoblasts, secondhand smoke

Summary:
Our research interests include cell therapy and gene therapy approaches to studying cardiovascular disease, with the goals of exploring potential treatments and understanding underlying mechanisms involved in angiogenesis, vascular function, and treatments for myocardial infarction. The laboratory is studying the effects of VEGF and pleiotrophin gene therapy on the heart and limb vasculature in mice. Further interests center in the therapeutic effects of ultrasound-guided bone marrow cell implantation into the heart after myocardial infarction, with a special emphasis on the therapeutic implications of the age and cardiac disease state of the cell donor. Similarly, the lab is studying the effects of age and disease on circulating angiogenic cells (sometimes called endothelial progenitor cells), with a focus on the roles of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and nitric oxide in the function of these cells. Lastly, they have developed a rat model of endothelium-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation, and are using it to examine mechanisms underlying vascular reactivity and how they are affected by cigarette smoke exposure.

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Paul C Simpson, M.D.

Simpson

Research Interests:
Molecular & cellular mechanisms of myocardial hypertrophy and heart failure Adrenergic receptors, signaling, and drug development

Summary:
Dr. Simpson is working to develop new drugs to treat heart failure, one of the most common causes of hospitalization and death in the USA and Western World. He has recently identified a promising drug target, alpha-1-adrenergic receptors, and is working to translate this into clinical use.

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Rita F Redberg, M.D., M.Sc.

Redberg

Research Interests:
Summary:
Dr. Rita F. Redberg’s research interests are non-invasive imaging of the coronary arteries comparing transesophageal echo with ultrafast CT and magnetic resonance imaging. Her ongoing research studies include a stray of the role of exercise in heart disease in women. She also does research in exercise echo evaluation of valvular and congenital heart disease as well as the use of transesophageal echo imaging in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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Michael J Mann, M.D.

Mann

Research Interests:
1. Molecular/cellular biology and molecular genetics of atherosclerosis and heart failure. 2. Development of hybrid surgical and molecular/cellular therapies for heart disease. 3. Stem and progenitor cell transplantation for cardiovascular regeneration. 4. Cardiovascular tissue engineering. 5. Reduction to clinical practice of current methods in genetic, molecular and cellular disease intervention. 6. Novel targeted molecular therapies for lung cancer. 7. Molecular profiling of cancers for personalized medicine. 8. Development of novel methods of in vivo/ex vivo gene therapy and gene transfer. 9. Novel approaches to therapeutic neovascularization for coronary and peripheral ischemic disease. 10. Cardiovascular cell cycle biology. 11. Myocardial gene therapy.

Summary:
Dr. Mann’s research focuses on the molecular and cellular biology of heart disease with an emphasis on practical ways to develop new treatments for heart failure. These involve potential gene and molecular therapies, combinations of molecular and cell-based treatments with surgical reconstruction, and evaluation of novel materials for the development of bioartificial replacements of lost or damaged heart tissue.

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Randall J Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Lee

Research Interests:
Arrhythmias, radiofrequency catheter ablation, implantable cardioverter/defibrillators, genetics, gene therapy, tissue engineering, stem cells, cell transplantation, biopolymers, antibodies, myocardial reconstruction/regeneration

Summary:
The research program integrates the disciplines of cell biology, bioengineering and cardiology. A tissue engineering approach is being used to investigate the potential application of cardiovascular reconstruction/regeneration. The use of stem cells and engineered polymer scaffolds are being investigated in heart attach models to determine their usefulness and safety in repairing damaged heart tissue.

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Joel S Karliner, A.B., M.D.

Karliner2

Research Interests:
Cardioprotection

Summary:
Our lab is devoted to studying cardioprotection. We employ isolated cells and hearts subjected to oxygen deprivation that simulate a heart attack. We then use promising drugs that salvage heart muscle during and after a heart attack, confirm that they are efficacious, and then study their mechanism of action.

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Natalia Z Jura, PhD

Jura

Research Interests:
Receptor tyrosine kinases, kinase regulatory mechanisms, membrane proteins, feedback regulation of cell signaling

Summary:
We study basic mechanisms of cellular signaling by Receptor Tyrosine Kinases with a goal to understand how cells receive and process growth signals provided by the neighboring cells and the extracellular milieu. Receptor Tyrosine Kinases are single pass transmembrane receptors that catalyze tyrosine phosphorylation upon activation of their intracellular kinase domains. These receptors are principal regulators of growth and survival signals in cells and therefore frequently become deregulated in human diseases. We are interested in understanding how the kinase activity of these receptors is regulated by ligand binding and how the receptors associate with their regulatory components during the activation process. By combining biochemistry and cell biology we are studying these processes in the reconstituted membrane systems in vitro and in the plasma membrane of the living cells. We also use crystallography to gain an atomic resolution insight into Receptor Tyrosine Kinase regulation that will help us design new approaches for therapeutic intervention.

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