Our research aims to elucidate the molecular bases of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and heart failure, with a particular emphasis on identifying therapeutic targets involved in pathophysiology and mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular complications of diabetes. Our approaches encompass both cell culture-based experimental systems and tissue-specific transgenic mouse models of human cardiovascular disease.
More specifically, we study the transcriptional and post-translational regulation of cell cycle- and Ca2+-regulatory genes in vascular smooth muscle cells and the impact of molecular genetic manipulations of these pathways on both the proliferative and contractile phenotypes of vascular smooth muscle cells. We are also interested in defining the roles played by certain vasoactive hormones, enzymes and their downstream signaling pathways in inflammatory disease of the heart and circulatory system. More recently, we have begun to characterize and optimize in vitro systems for the differentiation of fully functional smooth muscle cells and cardiac myocytes from embryonic stem cells, with a view to employ these cells in disease modeling and/or regenerative therapies. We are deeply engaged in understanding the biology of the incretin hormone GLP-1 and its metabolites in the cardiovascular system. We also participate in select national and international clinical trials in this field.