Category: Research Area


Akinyemi Oni-Orisan, PhD

Research Interests:

Pharmacogenomics, Cardiovascular drugs, Health disparities

Summary:

Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States, affecting almost 100 million adults and costing over $300 billion. Death from cardiovascular disease had been steadily declining since the 1970s due in part to remarkable advances in pharmacotherapy, but more recently has started to worsen. Although the reasons for this reversing trend are likely multifactorial, it is evident that better optimization of therapy may help to improve this recent worsening. In particular, there exists considerable interindividual variability in response to cardiovascular drugs. We hypothesize that the discovery and clinical validity of molecular biomarkers for cardiovascular disease drug response will allow clinicians more precise select cardiovascular pharmacotherapy regimens, thereby improving population-wide cardiovascular health outcomes. The overall research goal of my group is to improve pharmacological regimens for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease through precision medicine. To accomplish this objective, we combine computational approaches in pharmacogenomics, pharmacometrics, and pharmacoepidemiology using electronic health record-linked biobanks. In addition, only ~14% of participants from all genome wide association studies are of non-European descent, despite accounting for ~86% of the global population. This underrepresentation has the strong potential to exacerbate health disparities. Thus, another goal of our group is to ensure that study populations of genomics research studies are inclusive so that advances can benefit all. In accord with our overall research objectives and the approaches that we employ, we are currently investigating genetic determinants of efficacy and safety for hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor therapy in diverse populations.

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Jan Christoph, PhD

 







Research Interests:
Arrhythmias and Imaging

Summary:
In the Cardiac Vision Laboratory we focus on developing imaging methodology that can be used to better diagnose life-threatening heart rhythm disorders and heart disease. Combining techniques from bioengineering, computer vision and artificial intelligence with the physics of complex biological systems, we aim to study the heart’s highly dynamic behavior, and bridge the gap between basic cardiovascular science, high-resolution imaging and numerical modeling. 


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Priscilla Hsue, MD

Research Interests:
Inflammation, Immunology and Cardiovascular Disease

Summary:
I oversee a multidisciplinary team which is studying the role of inflammation in cardiovascular disease with a focus on HIV.  Our work includes descriptions of cardiovascular manifestations in HIV, elucidation of mechanisms underlying this disease process, and proof-of-concept therapeutic interventions to decrease CV risk with potential impact on HIV cure.

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Balyn W. Zaro, Ph.D.

Research Interests:

Hematopoiesis, innate immunity and proteomics/mass spectrometry

Summary:

Our lab takes a chemical biology and proteomics approach to optimizing drug selectivity and studying the immune system and blood formation. We aim to profile how different types of cells metabolize drugs in order to develop more-selective therapeutics and are interested in identifying targets critical for modulating the innate immune response during cancer and infection.

 

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Brian B. Graham, M.D.

Research Interests:

Pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary vascular inflammation, and cardiac angiogenesis.

 

Summary:

Our research group investigates pulmonary hypertension, a disease of the lung blood vessels. The major focus of our research is how the immune system contributes to the disease. The goal of our work is to discover new treatment approaches to help prevent or reverse this disease.

 

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Nevan J. Krogan, Ph.D.

Research Interests:
Systems biology, quantitative unbiased approaches, proteomics, genetic interactions, proteinprotein interactions, post-translational modifications, cancer, infectious diseases, cardiac development, psychiatric disorders.

Summary:

Our research focuses on fundamental biological mechanisms, because cures to many diseases have been revealed by unexpected discoveries in the basic sciences. We use and develop complementing technologies that allow the unbiased study of the cell. We create maps to study how proteins work together in cells, and how this changes during different diseases, including infectious diseases, cancer as well as neurological and psychiatric disorders. We strongly believe that impactful research is accomplished when diverse groups of scientists work together, and therefore we are working in close collaboration with national and international experts from different disciplines on all of our projects.

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Abigail Buchwalter Cool, Ph.D.

 

Research Interests:
We study the mechanisms that govern the specialization and maintenance of nuclear organization across cell types.

Summary:
We seek to understand how the organization of the cell nucleus is established, specialized across cell types, and maintained over time to influence cellular identity. “Nuclear organization” involves the non-random packaging of the genome within the nucleus, but also the assembly and interactions of other nuclear structures, such as the nuclear lamina and the nucleolus.

This work begins with a particular focus on the nuclear lamina, a nuclear structure that is essential for mammalian development and is mutated in ~15 “laminopathy” diseases that afflict the heart, muscle, bone, fat, and nervous system. We focus on three main thematic areas: (i) defining the essential roles that the nuclear lamina plays in nuclear organization, (ii) exploring disruption of nuclear organization as a possible cellular mechanism of aging, and (iii) determining how nuclear organization is maintained (or alternatively, remodeled) over time.

 

 

 


Stella A. Bialous, DrPH, FAAN

Research Interests:

Tobacco control, health policy, nursing, public health, capacity building, smoking cessation, cancer, non-communicable diseases, tobacco industry, global health, health diplomacy, sustainable development goals.

Summary:

Dr. Stella Bialous’ research focuses on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, tobacco industry monitoring and building nurses’ capacity for tobacco control nationally and internationally. Dr. Bialous has consulted with the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative for over 15 years. In 2003, she received the American Legacy Foundation’s Sybill G. Jacobson Adult Award for Outstanding Use of Tobacco Industry Document. In 2012, she received the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care Distinguished Merit Award and is currently the Society’s President.

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Mark Looney, M.D.

 

Research Interests:

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, blood transfusions, transfusion-related acute lung injury, neutrophils, neutrophil extracellular traps, platelets, lung transplantation

Summary:

My laboratory is broadly interesting in study innate immune biology in the normal and injured lung.  Using pre-clinical models of acute lung injury, we have focused on neutrophils and platelets, the latter being a bon a fide immune cell with powerful inflammatory potential.  One consequence of platelet-neutrophil interactions is the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which we study in both sterile and pathogen-induced lung injury models.  We are determining the mechanisms by which platelets trigger NETs and novel pathways to target NETs—which we have discovered are overall barrier disruptive in the lung.   

We also use two-photon intravital lung microscopy as a tool for discovery.  Using this technique, we have determined that the lung is a major source of mature platelet production in mice.  Furthermore, megakaryocytes reside in the extravascular lung and may have potent local immune effects.  The lung also contains a wide-range of hematopoietic progenitors, which have the capacity to leave the lung and engraft in the bone marrow for multi-lineage blood production.  We are determining the niche-promoting factors responsible for hematopoietic progenitor residence in the lung and the contributions of these cells to the local immune repertoire.

We have an expanding interest in lung transplantation studies, including ischemia-reperfusion injury (primary graft dysfunction) and modeling chronic lung allograft dysfunction (bronchiolitis obliterans).  We use the mouse single lung transplantation technique for these studies and to create lung chimeras for investigation.

UCSF Profiles Page: http://profiles.ucsf.edu/mark.looney


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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David R Raleigh, M.D.

Research Interests: Hedgehog signaling, developmental biology, brain tumors and molecular therapeutics

 

More children die from brain tumors than any other type of cancer, and the most common type of brain tumor in children is medulloblastoma. Like all cancers, medulloblastoma is caused by uncontrolled cell growth. Approximately one-third of medulloblastoma cancers arise when a particular signal that tells brain cells to grow, called Hedgehog, gets stuck in the “on” position. We are interested in uncovering exactly how Hedgehog signals tell cancer cells to grow. To do so, we are investigating how the Hedgehog pathway is activated, and how Hedgehog activation regulates the expression of other signals to influence cell growth. Understanding how Hedgehog signals cause cancer may show us how to turn off these signals, and potentially, lead to new therapies for medulloblastoma.

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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