Our laboratory focuses on vascular smooth muscle pharmacology, physiology, and function. Our reasons for focusing on the vasculature are many, but include the important fact that the vasculature is involved in numerous cardiovascular diseases. For example, hypertension affects approximately 20-30% of the world’s population, and hypertension continues to be a killer because it places individuals at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Obesity is comorbid (comes together with) hypertension, and is a vexing problem for the world. We have invested our lab’s time, effort, and brain power into these problems.
Our laboratory is dedicated towards understanding the mechanisms by which the vasculature contributes to hypertension, obesity, and obesity-associated hypertension. Given the serious problem of obesity today, these projects are translationally relevant. Importantly, we have the opportunity to study human tissue in most of these projects, so we can at least test if some of our findings in the rat (our primary model) are also observed in the human.
Our technical approach to research:
We use a multi-faceted technical and integrated approach towards studying these diseases so as to understand the mechanism from a molecular to a whole animal level. Our goal for a student is that they have, in their hands, a set of integrative techniques when they leave the lab such that they can explore pharmacological studies in a thoughtful, interrogative manner.
Techniques in our lab include:
Isolated tissue bath system to measure smooth muscle contraction, myograph to measure small artery contraction, Western analyses and protein work, real time RT-PCR, Super Arrays (mRNA pathways), pathway mapping based on gene arrays, HPLC, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, cell culture, kinase assays, oxidase assays, animal surgery, blood pressure measurement, ultrasound imaging of the circulatory system and, of course, pharmacology!