Major Areas of Ongoing Investigation
Animal models of cardiac tissue injury and repair.
We are focused on understanding the role that myeloid cells (monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells) play within the myocardium during steady state and following tissue injury. These myeloid subsets are a heterogeneous population of cells with distinct origins and functions, and participate in the initial inflammatory and subsequent wound healing responses after myocardial tissue injury. Using genetic and surgical mouse models, we are trying to understanding how individual myeloid subsets are activated, what factors regulate their entry into the myocardium and subsequently, their persistence and fate in the myocardium. In addition, we are identifying the contribution of each myeloid subset to the process of cardiac regeneration. We use models of hemodynamic stress (hypertension), ischemic stress (myocardial infarction) and also infective injury (viral myocarditis) in order to study the role of macrophages in tissue damage and repair.
Translational studies in patients with cardiovascular disease.
We also have several integrated translational projects that focus on the corresponding human myeloid subsets, how they are activated and how their activation state relates to myocardial function and myocardial recovery in patients following myocardial tissue injury (myocardial infarction). By focusing on how myeloid cells are activated in humans, we hope to identify pathological pathways that identify patients who will be at higher risk for developing severe cardiac dysfunction and identify new therapeutic targets.