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Adrian Dobs Lab
Researchers in the Adrian Dobs Lab study topics that include gonadal dysfunction, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and the relationship between sex hormones and heart disease. We currently are investigating male gonadal function—with particular interest in new forms of male hormone replacement therapy—and hormonal changes related to aging.
Allan Gelber Lab
The Allan Gelber Lab conducts research on the clinical epidemiology of rheumatic disorders. Our recent studies have explored topics that include the predicting factors of prevalent and incident gout; cardiovascular disease burden and risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis; autoantibodies in both primary and secondary SjogrenÕs syndrome; and predictors of outcomes in patients with scleroderma. In addition, we have a long-standing interest in the ways in which racial differences affect disease manifestations in relation to rheumatic disorders.
Researchers in the Ami Shah Lab study scleroderma and Raynaud’s phenomenon. We examine the relationship between cancer and scleroderma, with a focus on how and if cancer causes scleroderma to develop in some patients. We are currently conducting clinical research to study ways to detect cardiopulmonary complications in patients with scleroderma, biological and imaging markers of Raynaud’s phenomenon, and drugs that improve aspects of scleroderma.
Research in the Anderson laboratory focuses on cellular signaling and ionic mechanisms that cause heart failure, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, major public health problems worldwide. Primary focus is on the multifunctional Ca2+ and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). The laboratory identified CaMKII as an important pro-arrhythmic and pro-cardiomyopathic signal, and its studies have provided proof of concept evidence motivating active efforts in biotech and the pharmaceutical industry to develop therapeutic CaMKII inhibitory drugs to treat heart failure and arrhythmias.
Under physiological conditions, CaMKII is important for excitation-contraction coupling and fight or flight increases in heart rate. However, myocardial CaMKII is excessively activated during disease conditions where it contributes to loss of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, membrane hyperexcitability, premature cell death, and hypertrophic and inflammatory transcription. These downstream targets a...ppear to contribute coordinately and decisively to heart failure and arrhythmias. Recently, researchers developed evidence that CaMKII also participates in asthma.
Efforts at the laboratory, funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, are highly collaborative and involve undergraduate assistants, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. Key areas of focus are:
• Ion channel biology and arrhythmias
• Cardiac pacemaker physiology and disease
• Molecular physiology of CaMKII
• Myocardial and mitochondrial metabolism
• CaMKII and reactive oxygen species in asthma
Mark Anderson, MD, is the William Osler Professor of Medicine, the director of the Department of Medicine in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and physician-in-chief of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. view more
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 less
Research in the Cheryl Dennison Lab aims to improve cardiovascular care for high-risk groups through multidisciplinary and health information technology-based methods. Our studies focus on reducing system and provider obstacles to implementing cardiovascular guidelines in various health care environments. Additional research interests include chronic illness management, quality of care, interdisciplinary teamwork and provider behavior.
The C. Kwon Lab studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing heart generation and regeneration.
The limited regenerative capacity of the heart is a major factor in morbidity and mortality rates: Heart malformation is the most frequent form of human birth defects, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Cardiovascular progenitor cells hold tremendous therapeutic potential due to their unique ability to expand and differentiate into various heart cell types.
Our laboratory seeks to understand the fundamental biology and regenerative potential of multi-potent cardiac progenitor cells – building blocks used to form the heart during fetal development — by deciphering the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control their induction, maintenance, and differentiation. We are also interested in elucidating the maturation event of heart muscle cells, an essential process to generate adult cardiomyocytes, which occurs after terminal differentiation ...of the progenitor cells. We believe this knowledge will contribute to our understanding of congenital and adult heart disease and be instrumental for stem cell-based heart regeneration.
We have developed several novel approaches to deconstruct the mechanisms, including the use of animal models and pluripotent stem cell systems. We expect this knowledge will help us better understand heart disease and will be instrumental for stem-cell-based disease modeling and interventions for of heart repair.
Dr. Chulan Kwon is an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University Heart and Vascular Institute. view more
Daniel Berkowitz Lab
The primary focus of the Daniel Berkowitz Lab is understanding the role of nitroso-redox regulation and dysregulation in vascular biology and pathobiology, particularly as it relates to aging, atherosclerosis, and radiation-induced vascular endothelial function. Other focuses of the lab include understanding how basic cellular processes are altered in disease states, developing therapies for vascular diseases and helping lead space research team.
As an integrated cardiovascular biology lab, The Berkowitz Lab has ongoing funding from the National Institute of Health, NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI).
Dan Berkowitz, MD, is a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Berkowitz serves as the director of the Cardiac Anesthesia Division at the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and director of the Integrated Vascular Biology Laboratory.
The Daniel Nyhan Lab studies vascular changes that accompany aging to determine the underlying causes and find ways to reverse the process. One goal of our research is to identify the factors that cause vascular stiffness. Our hope is that our work in vascular biology will lead to new ways to improve vascular compliance and thereby improve cardiovascular function and perioperative risk.
The Dara Kraitchman Laboratory focuses on non-invasive imaging and minimally invasive treatment of cardiovascular disease. Our laboratory is actively involved in developing new methods to image myocardial function and perfusion using MRI. Current research interests are aimed at determining the optimal timing and method of the administration of mesenchymal stem cells to regenerate infarcted myocardium using non-invasive MR fluoroscopic delivery and imaging. MRI and radiolabeling techniques include novel MR and radiotracer stem cell labeling methods to determine the location, quantity and biodistribution of stem cells after delivery as well as to noninvasively determine the efficacy of these therapies in acute myocardial infarction and peripheral arterial disease.
Our other research focuses on the development of new animal models of human disease for noninvasive imaging studies and the development of promising new therapies in clinical trials for companion animals.