Associate Professor, Medicine, Cardiology Division; Feinberg School of Medicine
Cancer Cell Biology
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The focus of our lab is on the role of mitochondria and metabolism in cardiovascular disease. We have identified a protein, ABCB8, that plays a role in mitochondrial iron export and have shown that deletion of this gene in the heart leads to mitochondrial iron accumulation and cardiomyopathy. Furthermore, we have determined that the mechanism for the cardiomyopathy that is associated with the anti-cancer drug, doxorubicin, is due to mitochondrial iron accumulation, and that overexpression of ABCB8 in the heart of mice reverses this process.
Another project in the lab is on SNF-1 related kinase (SNRK). SNRK has sequence homology to AMPK but its function is not known. We have shown that SNRK inhibits cellular proliferation through a beta-catenin-dependent pathway, and that its levels are increased in colon cancer. We have also generated a mouse with overexpression of SNRK in the heart and are currently studying it.
We also work on the role of microRNAs in cardiac response to hypoxia. We have identified microRNA-210 to be highly overexpressed in the heart and shown that its overexpression protects the heart from cell death and production of reactive oxygen species.