Basic Research in Cardiology

Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease

In cardiology, we focus on studying the role of inflammation in the development of coronary artery disease. We have made seminal discoveries in this field by showing that C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, can directly activate human endothelial cells and that anti-atherosclerotic drugs down regulate inflammatory markers. We have also discovered that C-reactive protein can be produced by vascular smooth muscle cells in response to inflammatory stimuli. These findings have significant implications for inflammation and vascular biology.

Ubiquitin and Ubiquitin-Like Proteins

In oncology, the initial discovery in our laboratory of two protein modification pathways (Sentrin/SUMO and NEDD8) that regulate cell proliferation, signal transduction and inflammation has opened up new research frontiers. The importance of this research is validated by the successful Fourth International Conference on Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin-like Proteins and Cancer organized by our Department in February 2008. Current findings will be further expanded at the Fifth International Conference on Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin-like Proteins and Human Diseases on February 10-13, 2010.

Stem Cell Transplant to Regenerate Heart Muscles

Our unique position as a world-class cancer center allows for the union of both oncology and cardiology research. For example, we are collaborating with our oncology colleagues on developing a strategy for adult stem cell transplant to regenerate heart muscles, to use anti-proliferative drugs to treat the problem of restensosis and to study the basic mechanism of cardiotoxicity of new chemotherapy or immunotherapy agents.