Apoptosis and cell death; Cardiology; Cardiovascular Disease; Cell Cycle; Cell growth, differentiation and development; Gene therapy; Internal Medicine; Stem Cells
I am a researcher with formal training and practice in both general and interventional cardiology. My research expertise is in coronary physiology and physiological studies in large animals with ischemic heart disease. Based on my background, my research is focused on therapeutic approaches to effect cardiac regeneration in large animals with acute and chronic ischemic heart disease.
In my laboratory, I use a preclinical porcine model of hibernating myocardium with chronic left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery occlusion and collateral-dependent myocardium or infarcted myocardium caused by coronary ischemia-reperfusion. I have addressed the problem with several different therapeutic approaches involved in gene therapy, pharmacological and stem cell therapies. We routinely perform physiological studies on these porcine models with quantitative analyses of myocardial morphometry and immune-histochemical analyses.
The information we have collected in completed work demonstrates remarkable functional recovery and myocyte regeneration in the adult porcine heart. Intracoronary adenoviral gene transfer with fibroblast growth factor (FGF-5), the HMG-CoA inhibitor pravastatin and intracoronary mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) all stimulate the proliferation of endogenous cardiac myocytes and, to some extent, generate new myocytes and vessels. Our current work is focused on understanding the regenerative capability of cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) originating from heart tissue in acute or chronic ischemic myocardium. The result of this work will play an important role in advancing the care of many patients with acute and chronic ischemic heart disease.
In my laboratory, I mentor research fellows through their rotation. Fellows who work in my laboratory have the unique opportunity of being exposed to large animal experimentation and learning skills related to it--in physiology and coronary angiography, as well as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. Under my supervision, fellows also may work on independent projects and learn about cell biology and molecular biology, with the chance to present at international meetings and to publish as an author in international journals.