A practicing physician-scientist, I investigate at my lab in the UA Molecular Cardiovascular Research Program and Sarver Heart Center the mechanistic basis of pulmonary vascular disease and associated heart failure. The lab uses a systems biology approach for gene discovery and characterization, pre-clinical (animal) models of disease, and biomarker identification in humans with pulmonary hypertension (PH). Using a bench to bedside approach, we seek to translate laboratory research into novel therapies for patients. I work both in the Pulmonary Hypertension clinic as well as in an inpatient setting caring for patients with heart failure at the Banner – University Medical Center. I therefore also work closely with the Pulmonary Division and have worked together with it to start a registry for these patients that has helped us to better understand PH. My lab has an active clinical research core with multiple housestaff (at all levels — undergraduate and medical students, intern, and residents) that are currently investigating several different projects from the PH registry. In conjunction with the clinical research data, we have also initiated biobanking of blood specimens collected from PH patients to study genome-wide level analyses and associations with data derived from the registry.
Project 1: Assist with the clinical registry and ongoing clinical projects evaluating several different questions in PH: a.) Evaluate the association of insulin resistance and PH b.) Evaluate ethnic disparities in PH and right heart dysfunction c.) Evaluate referral patterns in PH
Project 2: Evaluate the role of a candidate gene in PH; you will learn and implement basic molecular biology techniques, microscopy, cell culture methods, and/or animal models of PH (mice and rats) to characterize the role of this gene and associated pathway in PH.