Vascular Biology and Metabolism

The cardiovascular system consists of the heart, blood, and blood vessels (arteries and veins) and serves essential roles in nutrient transport, tissue regeneration, wound healing, the immune response, and development.  The narrowing of arteries (called atherosclerosis) is the primary cause of heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease, and is the number one cause of death in humans.  Although we understand that smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and genetic factors contribute to a person's risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, the mechanisms by which they do so are not well understood.  Our Vascular & Metabolic program aims to understand how blood vessels function, both normally and under pathologic conditions.  Utilizing a range of techniques, including molecular studies, cells grown in tissue culture, isolated blood vessels, intact animal models, and human metabolomics and genomics, we are exploring the mechanisms that lead to the development of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, in the hopes of identifying novel therapies for cardiovascular disease.