In the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, more than 35 world-class faculty collaborate on basic and translational studies designed to elucidate normal and pathological mechanisms of cardiovascular, metabolic, lymphatic, and thrombosis-related processes. The overriding goal is to leverage new knowledge to advance patient care – and in the process, engage trainees in broad-based, insight-driven education and research in more than a dozen intersecting disciplines.
Five world-class research centers make their home in the Department: the Center for Translational Medicine, the Independence Blue Cross Cardiovascular Research Center; the Lemole Center for Integrated Lymphatics and Vascular Research; the Center for Metabolic Disease Research; and the Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center.
Each Center is led and staffed by nationally and internationally known investigators – such as Department chair Walter J. Koch, PhD, FAHA, a pioneer and leader in the field of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) kinase (GRK) research in cardiovascular physiology and pathology. As described in his profile, his laboratory has made major advances in understanding how GPCRs and GRKs contribute to heart function and heart disease.
Dozens of robustly funded studies underway in each Center aim to develop new knowledge that can lead to better understanding of the causes and mechanisms of disease, opening novel avenues for prevention, detection, and treatment. Cross-Center collaborations and partnerships between Department scientists and researchers elsewhere in the School and throughout Temple University amplify and augment the Katz School of Medicine’s potential to make significant advancements. In many studies, we also partner with leading investigators at academic medical centers in the U.S. and abroad. Collaborative science gives the Katz School of Medicine a competitive edge when applying for new grants and grant renewals – simultaneously exposing students, trainees, and junior faculty to unique, exciting research opportunities of significant impact.
Studies led by Department faculty continue to break new ground, elucidating the underlying mechanisms of myocardial infarction, heart failure, sepsis, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, diabetes, congenital heart defects, abnormal lung development and diseases, lymphatic disorders, and mitochondrial pathologies involved in cardiovascular and brain diseases.
With high-tech core research facilities staffed by experts at our disposal, we employ a wide spectrum of in vitro techniques, in vivo models, and patient-based research methods to study a broad spectrum of topics. These include the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of heart failure; the pathophysiology of post-myocardial infarction structural and functional remodeling; cellular-based cardiac regeneration and stem cell-based repair; novel molecular pathways involved in metabolic disorders and cardiovascular risk; proangiogenic systems in cardiovascular disease (as well as anti-angiogenic proteins which could be important in treating neoplastic disorders); microvascular function in health and disease; cardiac development and metabolism; metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease; the biology of proliferative arteriopathy (restenosis and allograft arteriopathy); transplant immunology and allograft vasculopathy; fundamental mechanisms of hypertension and strategies for reversal; the mechanisms underlying metabolic diseases (e.g., hyperhomocysteinemia, hyperlipidemia, hyperinsulinemia); pathogenesis caused by alterations in mitochondrial function and regulation; and more.
We employ molecular biological approaches to study the structure-function relationships of proteins involved in the process of inflammation, seek out novel molecular therapies and biomarkers for heart failure, investigate novel ways to protect the heart after an ischemic injury, and test novel “biased” drugs to be used broadly in cardiovascular disease.
Department scientists have made multiple discoveries pertaining to the molecular mechanisms underlying platelet activation – including the discovery that adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor molecules that play an essential role in platelet shape change and aggregation.
Areas on the department’s radar for development and expansion include personalized therapy, developmental cardiology, epigenetics, and developing new educational opportunities for students in translational cardiovascular and lymphatics sciences.