Research in the lab focuses on epigenetic regulation of heart failure. Approximately 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure which is characterized by heart enlargement (hypertrophy) and stiffness (fibrosis). We study signaling pathways and epigenetic mechanisms engaged by the heart to turn on pro-hypertrophic and pro-fibrotic gene expression programs. Of particular interest is a form of heart failure that arises from chronic low-grade inflammation, which is associated with natural aging. Specific research projects ongoing in the lab include:
1) Epigenetic regulation of pro-fibrotic and pro-inflammatory secreted factors from the cardiac myocyte and cardiac fibroblast
2) Gene expression regulation in the transition from quiescent fibroblast to activated myofibroblast
3) Epigenetic regulation of aging associated diastolic dysfunction and systemic “inflammaging”
The lab uses a combination of cell culture and animal models, high throughput genetic screens, and omics technologies to conduct discovery and hypothesis guided research.