I. Plasma lipoprotein metabolism Hepatic and intestinal origin of plasma lipoproteins; Apolipoprotein structure and function, especially apolipoprotein (apo) E and apoB; Characterization of cell surface receptors for lipoproteins; Role of the liver in cholesterol homeostasis. II. Relationship of plasma lipoproteins to the development and progression of atherosclerosis Role of diet in progression of coronary artery heart disease; Effect of apoE production in the artery wall on inhibition of atherogenesis. III. Role of apoE in the nervous system. Effect on peripheral nerve injury and repair; Role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease; Effect on neuronal cytoskeleton. IV. Turkish Heart Study Director of epidemiological study to determine the risk factors responsible for coronary artery disease in Turkey; Characterization of genetic polymorphisms responsible for low HDL-C levels and metabolic syndrome in Turks; Co-director of physician continuing education program for Turkish doctors and medical students in the area of cardiovascular disease.
My research has focused on the structure and function of apolipoprotein (apo) E, specifically its critical role in cholesterol homeostasis and atherosclerosis and, more recently, in Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration. ApoE regulates the clearance of plasma lipoproteins by mediating their binding to lipoprotein receptors and is also involved in peripheral nerve regeneration, lipid transport in the nervous system, and cytoskeletal stability and neurite extension and remodeling. A goal of our research is to develop a drug that will block the detrimental effects of apoE4 in cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders.