Identifying Molecular Clues of Heart Disease

Basic laboratory research in BIDMC's Division of Cardiovascular Medicine focuses on stem cell research and regenerative medicine to better understand cardiovascular and metabolic disease as well as investigations to identify the genetic, molecular and functional determinants that underlie heart disease.

Asnani Lab

Aarti H. Asnani, MD

Aarti H. Asnani, MD, is the Director of the CVI's Cardio-Oncology Program and a basic and translational researcher. The main focus of Dr. Asnani's lab is to define the molecular mechanisms of chemotherapy-associated heart toxicity, with the goal of targeting these pathways therapeutically in patients.

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Cowan Lab

Chad Cowan, PhD

Stem cell research in the Cowan laboratory uses human pluripotent stem cells to create genetic disease models to study how naturally occurring human genetic variation protects (or predisposes) some people to cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

The laboratory is also focused on regenerative medicine, in which a patient's own cells can be genetically cured or made resistant to disease and then transplanted back into the body as a durable treatment.

The Cowan laboratory aims to:

  • Identify patients, families and cohorts with disease
  • Use genetic techniques including genome-wide association studies and exome sequencing to identify novel DNA variants and genes linked to disease
  • Use human cell-based models and mouse models to understand how the DNA variants affect gene and protein function
  • Use these mechanistic insights to being the process of developing new therapies that will benefit patients and populations

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Kang Lab

Peter Kang, MD

Research interests in the Peter Kang laboratory focus on studying the molecular mechanisms of cardiac apoptosis and developing novel anti-apoptotic applications in cardiovascular diseases. Specifically, we are developing. These include the development of peroxide, the most abundant form of reactive oxygen species produced during reperfusion injury, to be used in cardiovascular therapeutics and bio-imaging.

In other research areas, the Kang lab has shown that Vitamin D therapy prevents the progression of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure in animal models. The lab is investigating the molecular mechanism of cardiac dysfunction associated with Vitamin D deficiency and examining the potential role of Vitamin D therapy in the treatment of heart failure. In collaboration with other investigators, the lab has also identified novel VDR agonists and are studying these novel compounds for clinical applications.

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Kontaridis Lab

Maria Kontaridis, PhD

Understanding the signaling pathways that mediate cardiac developmental processes may reveal important clues into the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of heart disease. The Kontaridis research program focuses on the fundamental mechanisms underlying both congenital heart disease and end-stage heart failure, and the mechanisms therein that lead to abnormal development, aberrant molecular signaling and disease onset. 

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Nath Lab

Anjali K. Nath, PhD

The Nath lab works at the interface of human genetics and chemistry. We systematically identify connections between genes and the human biology they regulate by integrating human multi-omic datasets. The purpose of these analyses are to determine the function of understudied genes and to identify novel drug targets. We then use chemical biology tools in combination with zebrafish genetic models to dissect the molecular mechanisms of these associations and identify lead compounds. Our overarching goal is to develop small molecules that modulate the activity of cardiometabolic disease-associated genes.

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