Our laboratory conducts Translational Pharmacology and basic science research. There are 3 major research areas in the lab, with several projects within each area that range from in vitro biochemistry, to cell culture & rodent models and even human cardiac tissue specimens. The mitochondria is a focal point of the research program. We routinely collaborate with medicinal chemists to study novel lead therapeutic compounds in heart and liver disease. One major effort is directed at targeting mitochondria in cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts to mitigate cardiac complications of diabetes and atrial fibrillation. There is also a basic science component directed towards a greater understanding of the role of mitochondria in cellular energetics and signaling pathways (nuclear cross-talk, paracrine factors, etc). Long-term, this work is expected to lead to novel therapies.
A brief overview of each area and project information can be found on the laboratory website link, at right.
Note: We are collaborating with cardiac surgeons from UIowa Heart & Vascular Center, and elsewhere, to obtain samples of human heart tissue. Most of these samples are atrial tissue which is obtained during routine cardiac surgeries. Tissue is dissected immediately from the patient on the operating table, and either placed straight into our preparatory buffer (for immediate testing) or frozen in liquid N2 and stored in our cryo-repository. Fibroblasts are often cultured from these samples (day of surgery), and these cells are then stored in cryo-vials in our repository. Matching blood samples from each patient (preoperative) are also available. Samples are made available to researchers in academia or industry upon request.
Research Area #1 - Cross-talk between Monoamines and Nutrient Metabolism in the Heart Research Area #2 - Examining the Role of Reactive Aldehydes in Cardiac Remodeling with Diabetes and Aging Research Area #3 - Elucidating the Metabolic and Anti-Inflammatory mechanisms of Mitochondrial Prohibitin (PHB)