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The main focus of the Becker lab has been on the mechanisms and consequences of post-ischemic myocardial inflammation.
Genomic control of platelet function:
Aggregation of blood platelets initiates clotting in coronary arteries, the main cause of heart attacks. Our laboratory conducts experiments to understand how genes control platelet function. Through funding by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, we have performed candidate gene analysis, linkage studies, whole genome association studies, and now whole genome sequencing in about 2000 healthy subjects from families with early onset coronary artery disease. The subjects are siblings or offspring of an individual identified with coronary artery disease before age 60 in the GeneSTAR Research Program (Genetic Studies of Atherosclerosis Risk). We have identified a large number of common and rare genetic variants associated with platelet aggregation, and although some variants are located in genes known to be important in... the biology of platelet function, most are in non-protein coding regions of genes (introns) or in intergenic regions of the genome. To understand better how these variants influence platelet function, we created pluripotent stem cells from blood mononuclear cells in 257 genotyped GeneSTAR subjects and then transformed the stem cells to megakaryocytes, the source of platelets in the bone marrow. We have determined the entire transcriptome of these megakaryocytes to measure gene expression levels in an effort to functionally link genetic variation with platelet function. We are also interested in epigenetic effects which regulate the amount of gene transcription and resulting protein formation. We have done similar transcriptomic and proteomic studies in blood platelets as we have in stem cell-derived megakaryocytes.
Our goal is to identify new therapeutic targets for drug development to control excessive platelet aggregation and reduce the risk of heart attack in susceptible individuals. We also hope to use the genetic information to predict who is at greatest risk for platelet aggregation or bleeding, and tailor treatment to effectively apply individualized precision medicine.
The Becker laboratory also extends its cardiovascular work well beyond platelet function, as noted on the GeneSTAR Research Program website. view more
C. John Sperati Lab
Research in the C. John Sperati Lab focuses on hypertension and kidney diseases. Topics of recent studies include novel treatments for these conditions, secondary hypertension and the genetic epidemiology of chronic kidney disease. Within the area of hypertension, we are particularly interested fibromuscular dysplasia, hyperaldosteronism, atherosclerotic renal arterial disease and genetic hypertensive syndromes.
Kathryn Carson Lab
The Kathryn Carson Lab investigates ways to improve medical research, particularly in the areas of brain and thyroid cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, HIV and lupus. Our team seeks to help researchers optimize their studies through better study design, protocol and grant writing, data cleaning and analysis, and publication writing. We work with investigators from a wide range of departments through the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
The Lima Lab’s research is concentrated on the development and application of imaging and technology to address scientific and clinical problems involving the heart and vascular system.
Specifically, our research is focused on developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast techniques to investigate microvascular function in patients and experimental animals with myocardial infarction; functional reserve secondary to dobutamine stimulation and myocardial viability assessed by sodium imaging; and cardiac MRI and computed tomography (CT) program development of techniques to characterize atherosclerosis in humans with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.
Current projects include:
• The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study
• The MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) Study
• The Coronary Artery Evaluation using 64-row Multidetector Computed Tomography Angiography (CORE64) Study
Joao Lima, MD, is a professor of medicine, radiology and... epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. view more
The Post Lab is involved in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a collaborative study of the characteristics of subclinical cardiovascular disease (that is, disease detected non-invasively before it has produced clinical signs and symptoms) and the risk factors that predict progression to clinically overt cardiovascular disease or progression of the subclinical disease.
As MESA researchers, we study a diverse, population-based sample of 6,814 asymptomatic men and women aged 45-84. Approximately 38 percent of the recruited participants are white, 28 percent African-American, 22 percent Hispanic, and 12 percent Asian, predominantly of Chinese descent.
Participants were recruited from six field centers across the United States, including Johns Hopkins University. Each participant received an extensive physical exam to determine a number of conditions, including coronary calcification, ventricular mass and function, flow-mediated endothelial vasodilation, standard coron...ary risk factors, sociodemographic factors, lifestyle factors, and psychosocial factors.
Selected repetition of subclinical disease measures and risk factors at follow-up visits have allowed study of the progression of disease. Participants are being followed for identification and characterization of cardiovascular disease events, including acute myocardial infarction and other forms of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and congestive heart failure; for cardiovascular disease interventions; and for mortality.
Wendy S. Post, MD, MS, is an associate faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins University, and a professor of medicine. view more
Seth Martin Lab
Dr. Martin's research is focused on rapid generation of new knowledge through clinical studies that can be brought back to the bedside to directly inform the care of patients with advanced lipid disorders and those in need of state-of-the-art comprehensive CV prevention. Members of his lab commit to complete ownership of their project, unwavering pursuit of excellence, and thrive on multidisciplinary teamwork. Active projects include the Very Large Database of Lipids, CASCADE FH Registry, MiCORE (Myocardial infarction, COmbined device, Recovery Enhancement), Google Health Search Trial, and mActive-Smoke.
For more information, please visit the Ciccarone Center.