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Over the last few decades, a growing body of evidence has shown that the immune system is intimately connected with cardiac development, function and adaptation to injury. However, there is still much to learn and currently there are no immunomodulatory treatments to prevent or treat heart dysfunction.
The Adamo Lab aims to study applied immunology in the context of cardiac function and dysfunction, to both elucidate fundamental properties of the immune systems and to develop novel therapeutic options for the rapidly growing number of patients living with heart disease.
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.
Ari Cedars Laboratory
Ari Cedars, M.D., and his team have three primary research goals. First, the Cedars Lab is interested in patient-centered outcomes in congenital heart disease, which they investigate using a digital tracking system to record participants’ symptoms and quality of life. Second, the Cedars Lab investigates outcomes with mechanical circulatory support and transplant in congenital heart disease, with a focus on those with end-stage heart disease and a Fontan circulation. Third, the Cedars Lab is interested in the biological mechanisms underlying circulatory deterioration and end-organ dysfunction in patients with a Fontan circulation.
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 less
Dhananjay Vaidya Lab
Research conducted in the Dhananjay Vaidya Lab focuses on the prevention of heart disease, with special emphasis on cardiometabolic risk factors, genetics in high-risk families, cardiovascular epidemiology, statistics and vascular biology. We also provide consultation on study design as well as plan and oversee data analyses for projects supported by the Center for Child and Community Health Research.
The Foster Lab uses the tools of protein biochemistry and proteomics to tackle fundamental problems in the fields of cardiac preconditioning and heart failure. Protein networks are perturbed in heart disease in a manner that correlates only weakly with changes in mRNA transcripts. Moreover, proteomic techniques afford the systematic assessment of post-translational modifications that regulate the activity of proteins responsible for every aspect of heart function from electrical excitation to contraction and metabolism. Understanding the status of protein networks in the diseased state is, therefore, key to discovering new therapies.
D. Brian Foster, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology, and serves as Director of the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Biochemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Our work is focused on the translational human in vivo and ex vivo assessments of right ventricular (RV) function in the setting of pulmonary hypertension.
Among patients with group I pulmonary arterial hypertension PAH, those with systemic-sclerosis-associated PAH (SSc-PAH) have a particularly poor prognosis and less optimal response to PAH-guided therapy. Using in vivo pressure-volume catheterization of the right ventricle, we have uncovered key deficiencies in resting and reserve RV function in the SSc-PAH group when compared to idiopathic PAH (IPAH) patients. These studies have uncovered key discoveries with regards to right ventricular-pulmonary arterial (RV-PA) coupling in PAH. In the lab, by studying myofilament function from RV endomyocardial biopsies from these same patients, we have uncovered corresponding deficiencies in myofilament contractility and calcium sensitivity as well. Ongoing work is directed towards determining the underlying mechanism of these findings, which... will hopefully lead to therapeutic applications for RV failure in SSc-PAH.
Further endeavors are directed towards studying RV failure in other populations, including exercise-induced PH, PH secondary to left-heart disease, and the left ventricular assist device population. view less
Basic science investigations span an array of inquiries, such as understanding the basic mechanisms underlying cardiac dyssynchrony and resynchronization in the failing heart, and beneficial influences of nitric oxide/cGMP/protein kinase G and cGMP-targeted phosphdiesterase signaling cascades on cardiac maladaptive stress remodeling. Recently, the latter has particularly focused on the role of phosphodiesterase type 5 and its pharmacologic inhibitors (e.g. sildenafi, Viagra®), on myocyte signaling cascades modulated by protein kinase G, and on the nitric oxide synthase dysregulation coupled with oxidant stress.
The lab also conducts clinical research and is presently exploring new treatments for heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction, studying ventricular-arterial interaction and its role in adverse heart-vessel coupling in left heart failure and pulmonary hypertension, and testing new drug, device, and cell therapies for heart disease. A major theme has been with the use ...of advanced non-invasive and invasive catheterization-based methods to assess cardiac mechanics in patients.asive and invasive catheterization-based methods to assess cardiac mechanics in patients.
David Kass, MD, is currently the Director at the Johns Hopkins Center for Molecular Cardiobiology and a professor in cellular and molecular medicine. view more
Mohamed Atta Lab
Dr. Atta and his research team explore the epidemiological and clinical interventions of a variety of kidney diseases. Our goal is not only to advance the understanding of many kidney diseases but also to capitalize on novel discoveries of basic science to treat a wide range of rare and common kidney disorders.
- Multi-international observational study of a rare form of amyloid (LECT2 amyloid) to understand its natural history with the ultimate interest of treating this condition.
- Our group has launched a project investigating the impact of COVID19 on the kidney to identify risk factors influencing outcome across different clinical phenotypes
- In collaboration with the Division of Infectious Diseases and the School of Public Health, our research has focused on the epidemiology of HIV and kidney disease. We also study clinical markers and contributing factors in the progression of kidney disease, and the association between kidney disease and h...eart disease.
- Our research group is participating in a multicenter consortium serving as a clinical core site to study the pathogenesis of HIV-associated kidney disease by providing well-characterized clinical specimens and corresponding clinical and laboratory data.
Hypertension in children is a major cause of disease, including early onset heart disease. Up to 25% of children who are overweight or obese have hypertension (high blood pressure), and children with obesity are at greater risk for having other cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and diabetes. The ReNEW Clinic at The Johns Hopkins University provides an innovative multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and treatment of obesity-related hypertension to help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. This clinic is designed for children with elevated blood pressure (prehypertension and hypertension) and a BMI at or above the 85th percentile. Many children in this clinic are enrolled in a longitudinal registry to help researchers learn how to better care for children with multiple risk factors for heart disease.
Read more about the ReNEW clinic: Childhood Obe...sity: A Focus on Hypertensionview more
Pediatric Proteome Center
Allen Everett, M.D., and his colleagues are identifying new biomarkers — measurable, physical signs — to help in identifying pediatric heart disease. Everett is the program leader at Johns Hopkins in pediatric biomarker discovery, initially in sickle cell disease and subsequently in other pediatric clinical conditions (birth injury, congenital heart disease repair, ECMO, prematurity and pulmonary hypertension).
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 less
Rasika Mathias Lab
Research in the Rasika Mathias Lab focuses on the genetics of asthma in people of African ancestry. Our work led to the first genomewide association study of its kind in 2009. Currently, we are analyzing the whole-genome sequence of more than 1,000 people of African ancestry from the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA). CAAPA’s goal is to use whole-genome sequencing to expand our understanding of how genetic variants affect asthma risk in populations of African ancestry and to provide a public catalog of genetic variation for the scientific community. We’re also involved in the study of coronary artery disease though the GeneSTAR Program, which aims to identify mechanisms of atherogenic vascular diseases and attendant comorbidities.
Reid Thompson Laboratory
Reid Thompson’s research interests include evaluation of ventricular function in patients with muscular dystrophy and Barth syndrome, and in patients who have completed chemotherapy. He also studies novel methods of teaching and diagnosing heart disease through cardiac auscultation.
Shelby Kutty Laboratory
Shelby Kutty, M.D., Ph.D., is an authority on cardiovascular imaging, including echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography of congenital heart disease. His areas of academic interest have focused on myocardial function assessment, therapeutic ultrasound and cardiovascular outcomes. Kutty’s research includes developing new imaging technology applications such as a smartphone application that uses patients’ echocardiographic images to track their progress. His work gives pediatric cardiologists better ways to predict outcomes in their patients and provide the most effective and appropriate treatments.
Work in the Wei Dong Gao Lab primarily focuses on heart failure and defining molecular and cellular mechanisms of contractile dysfunction. We use molecular biology and proteomic techniques to investigate the changes that myofilament proteins undergo during heart failure and under drug therapy. We're working to determine the molecular nature of nitroxyl (HNO) modification of tropomyosin.