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Walter J. Koch, PhD

William Wikoff Smith Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine
Chair and Professor, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences
Director and Professor, Center for Translational Medicine

Walter Koch
Contact Information

Contact Information





About Me

Research Interests

The Koch laboratory currently is investigating molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of signaling through cardiovascular adrenergic receptors (ARs) and the role this plays in heart disease, primarily heart failure (HF). The lab s research primarily targets a family of kinases known to regulate ARs and other G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) known as the GPCR kinases (GRKs). These GRKs appear to be critically involved in normal and failing heart function and we are manipulating the expression and activity of GRKs in the cardiovascular system. To do this, we utilize novel genetically engineered mouse models and also adenoviral-mediated myocardial gene delivery. Signaling information delineated to be involved in the pathogenesis of heart disease is utilized to design potential novel molecular therapeutic strategies for heart disease. This includes an ultimate goal of the laboratory to develop gene therapy protocols for HF utilizing novel intracoronary delivery techniques. These delivery techniques as well as "proof of concept" testing of molecular targets in the heart are currently being carried out in vivo in models of HF. In addition to HF, programs are ongoing in the laboratory to investigate novel ways to protect the heart against ischemia-induced myocyte apoptosis and also molecular ways to improve the function of the transplanted human heart. Another program in the lab is the investigation of the role of GPCR signaling in pathological vascular smooth muscle proliferation such as what occurs during arterial restenosis following angioplasty. New directions in the lab have us interested in novel non-GPCR binding partners for GRKs and are using a variety of in vitro techniques to discover and investigate these with a future plan to determine any cardiovascular physiological relevance of these GRK targets.

Developing Therapies to Prevent and Reverse Heart Damage

Researchers Dr. Steven Houser and Dr. Walter Koch have been on a quest to prevent and repair damage to the heart cells for decades, with the goals of changing the lives of patients with heart disease. Research breakthroughs like these could mean that we are just steps away from dramatically changing the way that heart disease is treated.

Education, Training & Credentials

Educational Background

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center (laboratory of Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz), 1991-1995
  • PhD, Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 1990
  • BS, Pharmacy (Cum Laude), University of Toledo College of Pharmacy, 1984


  • Heart Failure Society of America, 2000-present
  • American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, 2000-present
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1998-present
  • International Society for Heart Research, 1997-present
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1994-present
  • Basic Science Council, American Heart Association, 1994-present
  • American Heart Association, 1994-present

Digital Bibliography

View NCBI My Bibliography

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