Our research focuses on several aspects of cardiovascular disease, such as cerebral and pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and the prevention of vascular calcification. We are also broadly interested in the vascular-related diseases, such as corticosteroid-associated osteoporosis and pulmonary fibrosis.
We have discovered that ill-fated cell transitions occurring in endothelial cells (ECs) play an essential role vascular disease and cause the ECs to become a source of pathological cells. To prevent or reverse this, we are creating novel approaches to shift the ill-fated ECs back to normal differentiation and re-gain functional capacities, which reverse the course of these disease processes.
We are combining several cutting-edge techniques to achieve the goals. We use molecular tools to examine human specimens and animal models to reveal pathological progression. By examining gene expression profile at single-cell resolution, we uncover the ill-fated differential trajectories in the cells and identify relevant target genes or genetic perturbations. With high throughput system, we screen small chemical compounds to target specific genes or signaling pathways. By using high-resolution imaging together with molecular biology approaches, we validate the effects of the compounds in cellular and animal models.
By using these approaches for disease targeting, our studies have successfully identified several compounds with effects on vascular calcification and AVMs. These compounds may be starting points for new therapeutic strategies and clinical translation.