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Adrian Rothenfluh, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Adrian Rothenfluh, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry.

Adjunct: Neurobiology & Anatomy; Human Genetics

Research Interests:

Dr. Rothenfluh’s lab is in the Department of Psychiatry and in the U of U Molecular Medicine Program housed in the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics building. Fittingly, we are interested in genes, molecular mechanisms, and neural circuits involved in behavior. Dr Rothenfluhs’ lab uses Drosophila as a model organism, and it turns out that they are more like us than one would have anticipated.
In the area of his main focus, addiction, for example, flies are like mammals: they dislike alcohol initially, but with experience, they acquire the taste for it. His lab aims to understand the mechanisms mediating these behavioral responses and changes. They also continue to investigate whether (and to show that) homologous genes are involved in human and Drosophila responses to this drug of abuse.

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Allie Grossmann, MD, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Affiliation: 

Allie H. Grossmann, MD PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, a Medical Director of Anatomic Pathology & Oncology at ARUP Laboratories and an Investigator at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Research Interests:

Dr. Grossmann’s research program involves uncovering mechanisms of cancer disease progression and metastasis. This includes developing disease model systems for studying the metastastic cascade and partnering with industry to develop therapeutic interventions. The Grossmann lab employs multiple in vitro and in vivo model systems, with a particular emphasis on melanoma research.

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Amnon Schlegel, MD, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

 Affiliation and Leadership:

Amnon Schlegel, MD, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism

Research Interests:

Dr. Schlegel’s laboratory takes a multi-pronged approach to identifying and characterizing novel genes involved in lipid and glucose metabolism.In one main area of investigation, unbiased, forward genetic screens in zebrafish are used to isolate mutants with lipid phenotypes of interested (e.g.,inappropriate accumulation of lipids in the liver, altered adipose lipid mass). The group then clones and characterizes the affected genes. In a second area of investigation, modern genetic methods are used to delete or selectively express genes of therapeutic interest in mice and zelva fish, with a particular emphasis on the control of intestinal lipid handling as a platform for treating dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis, and on the liver’s control of fasting glucose metabolism.The latter area also has a human physiology component.

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Andrew Weyrich, Ph.D.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Andrew S. Weyrich, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Medicine.  He holds the H.A. & Edna Benning Presidential Endowed Chair, is the interim co-director of the Molecular Medicine program, and is the Vice President for Research at the UoU.

Research Interests:

Dr. Weyrich is recognized for his discoveries of novel gene expression pathways in anucleate platelets.  His group studies how platelets and their precursor, the megakaryocyte, regulate thrombosis in health and disease.  Dr. Weyrich’s group employs a variety of human and mouse model systems to dissect how megakaryocytes and platelets operate at the mechanistic and functional level, with the long-term goal of advancing the management and treatment of patients who suffer from thrombotic complications.

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Aylin Rodan, MD, Ph.D., FASN

Assistant Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Aylin Rodan, MD, Ph.D., FASN is an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension.

Adjunct: Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics

Research Interests:

Dr. Rodan’s primary research focus is understanding signaling cascades regulating ion transport processes, particularly in the kidney, but also in other settings such as stroke, circadian rhythm and osmoregulation. Dr. Rodan’s laboratory uses genetic techniques in Drosophila melanogaster, physiology, behavior and biochemistry to understand the molecular basis of ion transport physiology relevant to human physiology and pathophysiology, including electrolyte and tonicity disorders and high blood pressure.

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Christian Con Yost, M.D.

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Christian Con Yost, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics within the University of Utah School of Medicine, and serves as the Director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Training Program at the University of Utah; provides clinical care as an attending physician to critically ill patients admitted to the newborn intensive care units at the University of Utah Hospital, Primary Children’s Hospital, and Intermountain Medical Center;  Director for the Neonatal Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Research Interests:

Dr. Yost’s research interests include the study of regulatory mechanisms governing the acute inflammatory response in newborn infants, both term and preterm, as it relates to syndromes of dysregulated inflammation such as necrotizing enterocolitis, neonatal chronic lung disease, and early onset sepsis. He has received extramural funding to examine translational regulation of protein expression via the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling cascade in neonatal PMNs. As part of this effort, his research team recently described for the first time a novel deficiency of innate immunity in newborn infants leading to an increased risk of infection in term and preterm infants – failure of neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation with decreased extracellular killing of bacteria. Dr. Yost’s research efforts currently focus on elucidating the regulatory mechanisms governing NET formation by human PMNs and the role of dysregulated NET formation in the inflammatory syndromes associated with prematurity.  These efforts recently led to identification of novel endogenous inhibitors of NET formation from human umbilical cord blood.  These inhibitors may lead to new therapeutic approaches to treat pathologic inflammation in syndromes such as sepsis, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.

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Corrine Welt, MD.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Corrine K. Welt, M.D., is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division Endocrinology and Metabolism, and is the Interim Division Chief of Endocrinology. She holds an adjunct appointment in Genetics.

Research Interests:

Dr. Welt’s laboratory studies of the genetics of female reproductive disorders. Her group employs family studies of primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) and large-scale genome-wide association studies in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to understand fertility disorders that range from too few to many oocytes in the ovaries. The laboratory also uses human, cell line and mouse models to study the functional effect of these gene changes. The primary goal of the work is to ensure that treatment measures are put in place early to preserve fertility, avoid the associated medical consequences of infertility and identify new treatment options. The work is funded by the NIH, the Utah Center on Aging and the Utah Genome Project.

 

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Craig Selzman, MD.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership: 

Craig H. Selzman, M.D., is a Professor in the School of Medicine, Department of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.  In addition, he serves as the Surgical Director of the Cardiac Mechanical Support and Heart Transplant program.

Research Interests:

Dr. Selzman collaborates with many of the investigators within the Molecular Medicine Program and with the Integrated Advanced Heart Failure Program.  His laboratory is focused on transcriptional regulation and mechanisms of myocardial recovery. His team uses several models for investigation ranging from individual cardiomyocytes to transgenic mice as well as larger translational studies in sheep, goats, and humans.

In addition to his clinical and research responsibilities here at the University of Utah, Dr. Selzman carries many national and international positions including NIH study sections, Thoracic Transplantation committees, and professional organizational responsibilities.

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Elizabeth Leibold, Ph.D.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Elizabeth Leibold, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology.

Research Interests:

The overall goal of Dr. Leibold’s research is to understand the mechanisms regulating vertebrate iron metabolism. One project focuses on elucidating the mechanisms through which the key regulator of cellular iron metabolism, iron-regulatory protein(IRP2), senses and responds to iron content, and how dysregulation of iron metabolism as a consequence of IRP2 deficiency causes hematological and neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes. Another research project uses the nematode Caenorhabditis elegansas model genetic organism to identify novel iron-and oxygen-regulated genes and pathways that are relevant in vertebrates.

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Guy Zimmerman, MD.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership: 

Guy A. Zimmerman, M.D., is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary. He is the Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Internal Medicine, and the Co-Director in the School of Medicine Immunology, Inflammation, and Infectious Diseases Initiative.

Research Interests:

  • Innate immune and inflammatory responses to injury and infection.
  • Mechanisms that link inflammatory and hemostasis.
  • Human inflammatory, hemostatic, and infectious diseases, including acute respiratory distress syndrome and systemic infectious diseases (sepsis, dengue, malaria)

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J David Symons, Ph.D.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

J. David Symons, Ph.D., is Professor in the College of Health, Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology; Adjunct Professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes; and Investigator in the Molecular Medicine Program. He is Chair of the College of Health College Council, and the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology RPT Committee.

Research Interests:

Dr. Symons’ laboratory investigates vascular function in response to pathophysiological (e.g., obesity/type 2 diabetes, ischemia, hypertension), physiological (e.g., aging, physical exercise), and nutritional (e.g., polyphenolic compounds and their metabolites) interventions. To do so his laboratory uses immortalized and primary cell culture models, isolated blood vessels, pre-clinical models, and humans.

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Jesse Rowley, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Affiliation:

Jesse W. Rowley, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine.

Research Interests:

Dr. Rowley and his group use multi-“omic” approaches to define the pathways regulating platelet production and function in health and disease.  He established an RNA-seq reference for both human and mouse platelets that has guided the discovery of genes and microRNAs that contribute to platelet reactivity. Recent research is focused on genes that regulate mitochondrial fusion and fission, and whether this pathway can be targeted to alter platelet numbers and function to reduce cardiovascular disease.

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Affiliation and Leadership:

Joseph Yost, Ph.D. is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics and Neurobiology & Anatomy. He holds the Richard L. Stimson Presidential Endowed Chair, is the interim co-Director of the Molecular Medicine program, and is the Vice Chairman for Basic Science Research in the Department of Pediatrics.

Research Interests:

Dr. Yosts’ lab is recognized as a founder and leader in the field of vertebrate left-right (LR) development, discovering pathways and mechanisms that convert bilateral symmetry to LRasymmetry, including essential functional and/or structural asymmetries in the heart, brain and digestive system. His group has generated zebrafish genetic models of human congenital heart disease(CHD), adult cardiomyopathies and heart failure, heterotaxy syndrome, ciliopathies, Roberts syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, colon cancer and rare/orphan diseases in pediatrics, with the long-term goal of increasing the understanding of biological mechanisms for the advancement of human medicine.

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Karin Chen, MD.

Assistant Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Karin Chen, MD is an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology. She is the Medical Director for the Pediatric Primary Immune Deficiency Program.

Research Interests:

Dr. Chen’s research interests involve translational studies in the genetics and pathogenesis of primary immune deficiency diseases, including common variable immunodeficiency, severe combined immunodeficiency, and immune dysregulatory diseases. She has been involved in the gene discovery of a form of early-onset common variable immunodeficiency involving NFKB2, a major protein in the noncanonical NF-kB pathway.

 

Dr. Chen is also a site principal investigator for national primary immune deficiency disease research programs, including the Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium (PIDTC) and the United States Immunodeficiency Network (USIDNET).

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Katsu Funai, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Katsu Funai, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the College of Health in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training.

Adjunct: Nutrition and Integrative Physiology; Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center

Research Interests:

Lipids are the most abundant organic constituents in many humans. The rise in obesity prevalence has prompted a need for a more refined understanding of the effects of lipid molecules on cell physiology. In skeletal muscle, deposition of lipids can be associated with insulin resistance that contributes to the development of diabetes. Muscle cells are equipped with the molecular machinery to convert and sequester lipid molecules, thus rendering them harmless. Induction of mitochondrial and lipogenic flux in the setting of elevated lipid deposition, such that occurs with exercise, can protect muscle from lipid-induced poisoning of the cellular machinery. We utilize cell lines, genetically-modified mice and primary muscle cells from human subjects to examine mechanisms whereby skeletal muscles develop and/or evade toxic effects of lipid influx.

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Kevin Whitehead, MD.

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Kevin J. Whitehead, M.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatric Cardiology.

 

Research Interests:

I am interested in cardiovascular development and vascular malformations. I direct the Utah Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Center of Excellence and am interested in clinical, translational and basic research into this and related vascular malformation syndromes. We have developed robust animal models of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) and study pathways associated with the formation, growth and hemorrhage of CCM lesions.

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Matthew Rondina, MD, MS

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Matthew T. Rondina, M.D., M.S, is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine.  In this capacity, he provides consultation and specialty care for patients with thrombotic disorders.  He also holds an adjuct appointment as Associate Professor of Medicine and Investigator in the George E. Wahlen VAMC.  He serves as the Precision Medicine Foundation for the Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) and Interim Associate Director of the Molecular Medicine Program.

Research Interests:

Dr. Rondina is recognized for his work examining how systemic inflammatory disorders alter (or reprogram) platelets and their parent cell, the megakaryocyte.  His laboratory focuses heavily on diseases where dysregulated inflammation drives host responses, regulating immunity and thrombosis.  Dr. Rondina’s group couples mechanistic systems with in vivo models of thrombo-inflammation and clinical studies in human donors and patients.

 

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Micah Drummond, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Affiliations and Leadership:

Micah Drummond, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Physical Therapy and Athletic Training and carries adjunct appointments in the Departments of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology, Pathology and Internal Medicine. He is also the Director of the Exercise Physiology and Mobility Lab within the Center for Clinical & Translational Science.

Research Interests:

Dr. Drummond’s research team focuses on mechanisms underlying physical inactivity-induced insulin resistance and loss of muscle mass in older adults. The research projects involve both clinical and mouse studies and hold to two general research themes:

1) Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of skeletal muscle growth and metabolic function in aging muscle during disuse and recovery.

2) Utilizing therapeutic tools (nutritional, exercise, pharmacological) to limit muscle and metabolic deficits that occur with physical inactivity in aged muscle.

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Owen Chan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Owen Chan Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Research Interests:

Dr. Owen Chan is renowned for his research in brain glucose sensing and the central mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of hypoglycemia unawareness. His laboratory utilizes cutting-edge neuroscience techniques to study neural circuits that participate in the regulation of peripheral glucose metabolism and understand how brain metabolism is impacted by recurring exposure to hypoglycemia and diabetes. His research shows that during hypoglycemia, when glucose supplies become limited, the brain adapts to using other types of fuel substrates besides glucose to meet its metabolic needs. This in turn, prevents the brain from detecting a fall in blood glucose levels, making the patients unaware of the fact that their blood glucose levels are declining. These discoveries have paved the way to developing novel treatment strategies to reduce or prevent hypoglycemia in patients with diabetes.

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Paul Bray, MD.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Dr. Paul Bray M.D., is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/BMT

Research Interests:

Dr. Bray’s laboratory studies the role of platelets in cardiovascular disease, and disorders of bleeding and thrombosis.  He is especially interested in the genetic basis of inherited platelet bleeding disorders and the inter-individual variation in platelet reactivity that contributes to normal hemostasis and pathologic thrombosis.  His major areas of investigation include: (1) The use of state-of-the-art genomic, transcriptomic and bioinformatic technologies to identify and characterize novel genes and gene variants involved in platelet reactivity; (2) The role of microRNAs in human megakaryocyte and platelet biology; (3) Pharmacogenetics of platelet genes, genetic variants and therapies (e.g., hormone therapy and anti-platelet therapies); and, (4) Racial differences in platelet function.  He has been continuously funded by the NIH for 31 years.

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Robert Campbell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Affiliation:

Robert Campbell, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine in the  Department of Internal Medicine, General Internal Medicine Division.

Research Interests:

The primary goal of Dr. Campbell’s research is to determine how blood clots induce robust transcriptional and translational responses in immune cells, which promotes inflammation and thrombosis. During my training, I have focused on dissecting the mechanisms behind how cells alter coagulation under normal and disease situations. Recently, I have begun to examine how hemostasis and thrombosis in turn alters platelet and immune cell inflammatory response.

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Scott Summers, Ph.D.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Scott Summers, Ph.D., is a Professor in the College of Health and is the Department Chair for Nutrition and Integrative Physiology. He holds an Adjunct appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and is an investigator in the Molecular Medicine program. He is also a Co-Director of the Diabetes & Metabolism Research Center.

Research Interests:

Ceramides are products of fat and protein metabolism that accumulate in individuals prone to metabolic disorders. Once ceramide levels rise above a critical level threshold, tissues such as skeletal muscle, adipose, and the liver become unresponsive to insulin, the hormone that drives postprandial nutrient uptake and storage. The Summers Laboratory found that implementing pharmacological or genetic engineering strategies to block ceramide accumulation in rodents improves insulin sensitivity and prevents the onset of diabetes, fatty liver disease, and various cardiovascular complications. Building upon these discoveries, they now seek to understand the regulatory mechanisms governing ceramide synthesis or action and to identify new therapeutic strategies for reducing ceramides to treat these diseases.

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Shannon Odelberg, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Shannon J. Odelberg, Ph.D., is a Research Associate Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Adjunct: Neurobiology and Anatomy

Research Interests:

The Odelberg laboratory focuses on the role of the small GTPase ARF6 in inflammatory disease and cancer. ARF6 has been shown to play a role in both chronic and acute inflammatory diseases and conditions, including arthritis and sepsis, and in the establishment and metastasis of certain cancers, such as cutaneous and uveal melanoma. The activation of ARF6 helps drive these diverse conditions by promoting the trafficking of key signaling proteins to appropriate intracellular locations where signaling is enhanced. Blocking the function of ARF6 by gene knockout, RNA interference, or pharmacologic inhibition reduces trafficking and signaling of these key proteins and mitigates disease in animal models, thus making ARF6 a promising therapeutic target for several cancers and inflammatory conditions.

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Sihem Boudina, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Sihem Boudina, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the College of Health in the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology, she holds an adjunct appointment in the School of Medicine in the Departments Biochemistry, Internal Medicine and Surgery,

Research Interests:

 The broad area of the research conducted in the Boudina Laboratory is focused on the pathogenesis of obesity and cardiovascular disease (CVD). My group is particularly interested in deciphering the cellular events and the molecular mechanisms regulating adipocyte function and thermogenesis with a particular emphasis on how redox modulate thermogenesis. As obesity is a risk factor for CVD, we are also interested in understanding how this condition affects the myocardium.

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Simon Fisher, MD, Ph.D.

Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Simon J. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Research Interests:

 

 

 

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Stavros Drakos, MD, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Affiliation and Leadership: 

Stavros G. Drakos, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor (tenured) in the School of Medicine , Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine Division. He is the Co-Chief of Heart Failure and Transplant Section and Medical Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) Program. He is also a Nora Eccles Treadwell Scholar and Director of Cardiovascular Research for the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Adjunct: Associate Professor of Bioengineering

Research Interests:

Dr. Drakos’ research interests are focused on cardiac recovery associated with unloading and MCS in the chronic HF setting and the acute setting (i.e. acute HF/cardiogenic shock). He has published original work generated both in his lab and in the clinical arena which led to the establishment of the award-winning Utah Cardiac Recovery Program (UCAR). Dr Drakos’s team is utilizing clinical and biological information derived from studies in humans and small or large animal HF models to understand and manipulate cardiac recovery.

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Stephen H. McKellar, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Stephen McKellar, M.D., M.Sc., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Research Interests:

Dr. McKellar’s research efforts focus on the failing heart, with a particular focus on right ventricular failure and recovery. He studies the metabolic processes involved in the failing and recovering heart using basic and translational techniques. He collaborates with investigators across campus both in the Department of Biochemistry and Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI).

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Weiquan Zhu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Affiliation and Leadership:

Weiquan (Wendy) Zhu, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, she also holds an adjunct appointment in Pathology in the Microbiology & Immunology Division.

Research Interests:

Weiquan (Wendy) Zhu’s research interests are in vascular stability and its relationship to disease. She is particularly intrigued by the function of the small GTPase ARF6, the protective role inhibition of ARF6 plays in vascular stability, and the possibility of targeting ARF6 to treat inflammatory, infectious, and immune-related diseases. She and her group are using animal model of arthritis, acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), ocular vascular diseases, cerebral malaria, and multiple sclerosis to test the hypothesis that enhanced vascular stability prevents vascular leak and protects against disease development and progression mediated by inflammation, infection, and immunity. Her long-term goal is to have these basic science discoveries translated into therapeutics that can be used in the clinic.

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