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  • O'Rourke Lab

    Lab Website
    Principal Investigator:
    Brian O'Rourke, Ph.D.
    Medicine

    The O’Rourke Lab uses an integrated approach to study the biophysics and physiology of cardiac ...cells in normal and diseased states.

    Research in our lab has incorporated mitochondrial energetics, Ca2+ dynamics, and electrophysiology to provide tools for studying how defective function of one component of the cell can lead to catastrophic effects on whole cell and whole organ function. By understanding the links between Ca2+, electrical excitability and energy production, we hope to understand the cellular basis of cardiac arrhythmias, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and sudden death.

    We use state-of-the-art techniques, including single-channel and whole-cell patch clamp, microfluorimetry, conventional and two-photon fluorescence imaging, and molecular biology to study the structure and function of single proteins to the intact muscle. Experimental results are compared with simulations of computational models in order to understand the findings in the context of the system as a whole.

    Ongoing studies in our lab are focused on identifying the specific molecular targets modified by oxidative or ischemic stress and how they affect mitochondrial and whole heart function.

    The motivation for all of the work is to understand
    • how the molecular details of the heart cell work together to maintain function and
    • how the synchronization of the parts can go wrong

    Rational strategies can then be devised to correct dysfunction during the progression of disease through a comprehensive understanding of basic mechanisms.

    Brian O’Rourke, PhD, is a professor in the Division of Cardiology and Vice Chair of Basic and Translational Research, Department of Medicine, at the Johns Hopkins University.
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    Research Areas: biophysics, ischemia-reperfusion injury, imaging, electrophysiology, cardiovascular, arrhythmia, physiology, sudden cardiac death, molecular biology, cardiac cells
  • Ryuya Fukunaga Lab

    The Fukunaga Lab uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand the cell biology, biogenesis a...nd function of small silencing RNAs from the atomic to the organismal level.

    The lab studies how small silencing RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), are produced and how they function. Mutations in the small RNA genes or in the genes involved in the RNA pathways cause many diseases, including cancers. We use a combination of biochemistry, biophysics, fly genetics, cell culture, X-ray crystallography and next-generation sequencing to answer fundamental biological questions and also potentially lead to therapeutic applications to human diseases.
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    Research Areas: biophysics, biochemistry, cell biology, cell culture, genomics, RNA
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