Highlights in translational research
Fighting cardiac restenosis at the molecular levelDespite the advances in vascular medicine, such as the drug rapamycin and innovative devices like drug-eluting stents and patch angioplasty, interventions for cardiovascular diseases often fail due to restenosis. This serious condition is essentially the re-narrowing of the reconstructed blood vessel. The etiology of restenosis is multifactorial, with smooth muscle and endothelial cell dysfunction being the most prominent factor. An interdisciplinary team led by Dr. K. Craig Kent is investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying vascular disease, while striving to develop more effective drug delivery platforms and treatments to tackle restenosis.
Learn more about Dr. K. Craig Kent
Increasing the viability of donor lungs for transplantOne of the biggest challenges facing organ transplantation is keeping donor organs healthy. Our Comprehensive Transplant Center is the first in Ohio to offer a process that uses a mechanical system to respirate, warm, nourish and repair donor lungs outside the body, thus improving the odds that they can be used for transplant. Bryan Whitson, MD, PhD and principal investigator in the COPPER Laboratory, is one of the pioneers of this process at Ohio State. The COPPER laboratory is a multidisciplinary collaboration dedicated to expanding the science of endothelial cell repair in ischemia reperfusion and exploiting ex vivo perfusion to assess, repair and modify donor allografts.
Learn more about Dr. Bryan Whitson
Working to protect preemies from a deadly diseaseNecrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease that affects the intestines of premature babies, causing infection, inflammation and destruction of the intestinal wall. And it’s become the leading cause of death in neonatal intensive care units across the country. Despite more than six decades of research, the morbidity and mortality rates of the disease remain unchanged, at up to 50 percent. The Besner Laboratory focuses on the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies to protect infants’ intestines from NEC and help them thrive and grow.
Learn more about Dr. Gail Besner
Treating disease at the cellular levelIn an excessive response to stimulation such as injury, some vascular cells change phenotype, deviating from their normal functions. These ill-behaved cells deform the vessel wall, leading to obstruction of blood flow and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease. Dr. Lian-Wang Guo’s research has centered on both sigma-1 receptors and BET proteins, and how they impact the changes in vascular cells. Encouraged by promising outcomes, researchers in the Guo lab are collaborating with bioengineers to develop innovative drug delivery strategies. Their goal is to translate their research into effective treatments for large populations, who might otherwise develop blindness or flow-obstructing vascular diseases.
Learn more about Dr. Lian-Wang Guo
Influencing immune system reactions for long-term transplantation successTransplant surgeon Ginny Bumgardner, MD, PhD, conducts transplant immunology research, motivated by the power of transplantation to transform the lives of patients with end-stage organ failure. She and her collaborators investigate novel approaches to manipulate immune system reactions after transplantation of cells and organs to prevent rejection and promote long-term transplant function.
Learn more about Dr. Ginny Bumgardner
Studying the effects of microgravity on the heart for NASAAdult cardiac surgery and heart-lung transplantation are just two of the passions of Dr. Peter Lee. One research project he manages observes the effects of loading on cardiac remodeling in an in-vitro three-dimensional tissue-engineered model, for which he received the prestigious American College of Surgeons Faculty Research Fellowship. In addition to using BioArtificial Muscles (BAMs) to deliver therapeutic proteins in vivo to treat a variety of diseases, Dr. Lee’s laboratory also studies the effects of microgravity on skeletal muscle and the cardiovascular system, funded in part with a grant from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).
Learn more about Dr. Peter Lee
Treating disease with genome editing technologiesUnderstanding how genetic defects lead to human diseases (including muscular dystrophy) is just one part of Dr. Renzhi Han’s research. The other part is harder: how to correct those genetic flaws in the genome. Dr. Han’s laboratory is addressing these questions through the use of genetic animal models and leading-edge genome editing technologies to develop novel therapeutic strategies to treat them.
Learn more about Dr. Renzhi Han
Researching the molecular mechanisms of both heart and skeletal musclesHeart and skeletal muscles have a unique ultrastructure to ensure their primary contractile function. Dr. Hua Zhu’s laboratory is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that maintain the structural properties of striated muscle for their normal physiology. The long-term goal of Dr. Zhu’s lab is to translate their discoveries in basic science into treatment of human diseases caused by structural and functional alterations of striated muscle. These diseases include ischemic heart diseases, muscular dystrophy and sarcopenia.
Learn more about Dr. Hua Zhu
Increasing transplants with better assessment and repair of donor organsWith the increasing success of organ transplantation, there is a disparity between the number of organs available for transplantation and recipients on the waiting list. To expand the donor pool, extended criteria and marginal donor organs have been used with increased frequency. Unfortunately, these donor organs may not function as well and can increase the risk of complications to the recipient. Dr. Sylvester Black’s laboratory is addressing the assessment and repair of these organs using technologies such as normothermic ex-vivo perfusion and cellular repair molecules. The goal is to expand the donor pool and use these organs with increased safety for transplant patients.
Learn more about Dr. Sylvester Black
Exploring bioengineered tissue to save infants with congenital heart defectsChristopher Breuer, MD, is the principal investigator on the first FDA-approved study evaluating the use of tissue engineered vascular grafts in congenital heart surgery in humans. His work is both basic and applied in nature. Dr. Breuer’s basic science research is centered on investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neotissue formation in cardiovascular tissue-engineered constructs.
Working with Dr. Toshiharu Shinoka, he was the first in the world to tissue engineer blood vessels and implant them in human infants.
Learn more about Dr. Christopher Breuer
Expanding knowledge of living systems through nano medicineDr. Gallego-Perez’s Nano Medicine lab is focused on developing and implementing novel nanotechnologies that can be easily interfaced with living systems at the cellular, tissue, or organ level, to gain more insight into specific pathophysiological processes, or to deliver preventive or corrective therapies to injured or diseased cells, tissues, or organs. Tissue Nano-transfection (TNT), an example of such technologies, is currently being further developed by the Gallego-Perez lab for potential applications in the treatment of diabetes, certain neurological conditions, and cancer.
Learn more about Dr. Daniel Gallego-Perez
Understanding the molecular and cellular mechanism for myocardial repair/regenerationCell aging (senescence) and poor donor cell survival are the two major obstacles in stem cell therapy. Dr. Chuanxi Cai’s laboratory is resolving these issues through developing innovative approaches to rejuvenate aging stem cells so that these cells recapture a youthful phenotype, and enhance their survival ability for the cell therapy of heart diseases.
Learn more about Dr. Chuanxi Cai
Innovation in site-directed mutagenesis and directed evolutionSince the successful debut of recombinant human insulin, recombinant DNA technology has played a critical role in the development and production of biopharmaceuticals. Based on innovative site-directed mutagenesis (SDM) and directed evolution technology, Dr. James Ko pursues construction of a novel platform to create the next generation of biopharmaceuticals possessing optimized drug properties, novel biological functions and beneficial traits during production.
Learn more about Dr. James Ko