Research Focus Areas:
Our main investigations are focused on mechanisms and potential treatment of myocardial stunning following surgery or ischemia. Current research focuses on the role of small heat shock proteins (sHSP) in the setting of myocardial stunning following cardioplegic arrest (solutions used to stop the heart during surgery). We demonstrate a novel role for these proteins in regulation of cardiac contraction based on phosphorylation status. Work in the laboratory is focused on elucidating mechanisms of sHSP mediated changes in cardiac function, and potential therapeutic strategies to improve heart function following surgery. There is a broad range of models used in the laboratory: including patient samples pre and post-cardiac surgery, analysis of physiology and biochemical signaling in whole heart and isolated cell models of cardiac surgery. Other areas of investigation in collaboration with Dr. Sellke's laboratory include contractile abnormalities of the coronary vasculature associated with cardiac surgery and/or cardiovascular disease risk factors.