Dr. Jochen Steppan's research focuses on the basic science aspects of vascular stiffness, an important predictor of aging-associated cardiovascular morbidity and pulmonary hypertension.
In a collaborative effort with a team of cardiovascular biologists and physiologists, Dr. Steppan addresses important pathways of aging, associated changes in nitric oxide signaling, the nitroso-redox milieu, endothelial function, extracellular matrix composition and vascular reactivity. The goal of these studies is to characterize and describe the underlying basic vascular pathophysiology, and importantly to move those studies into the clinical realm to ultimately prevent, halt, or even reverse aging-associated vascular stiffness and pulmonary hypertension.
This approach has been awarded with a SCA/IARS Mid-Career Award and an NIH K08 Award, to evaluate a novel target: LOXL2 (lysine-oxidase-like-2), which may be intimately involved in the development or progression of pulmonary hypertension. These studies will advance the understanding of LOXL2's role in the lung vasculature and may lead to the characterization of a novel therapeutic target, which is of critical importance for the treatment of this deadly disease. Furthermore, Dr. Steppan is a co-investigator of a R01, evaluating LOXL2 in aging-associated vascular stiffness. Lastly, he holds intramural awards to evaluate vascular stiffness in patients with mitral valve disease and to characterize the mechanisms of action of LOXL2 in PH.