Thoracic Aortic Disease Research Laboratory


The goal of our laboratory is to be a world leader in defining the elusive cellular and molecular mechanisms governing bicuspid aortic valve-associated aortopathy. Our ultimate goal is to achieve successful risk mitigation for patients through the development of new diagnostics and improved treatment modalities that prevent or reverse the matrix remodeling that threaten aortic catastrophe. To this end, we maintain one of the largest human aortic tissue banks and leverage the expertise of our interdisciplinary team of cardiac surgeons, cell biologists, vascular physiologists, bioengineers, polymer chemists, computational biologists, pathologists, biostatisticians, nurses, and research coordinators. We strive to be recognized for our interdisciplinary training environment at an important clinical, basic science and bioengineering intersection and for pivotal research contributions that guide clinical decision making in the management of patients affected by bicuspid aortic valve.

Areas of Research Focus:

  • Aneurysm formation in patients with bicuspid aortic valve
  • Free radical biology influence on matrix architecture and biomechanic
  • 3-D culture models of blood vessels
  • Microvascular vasoreactivity
  • Local perivascular progenitor cells
  • Cell-cell and cell-matrix communication
  • Biomechanics at the tissue and cellular levels
  • Connective tissue disorders such as Marfan, Loeys-Dietz and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes

Active Research Projects Include:

  • Detection and quantification of free radical species in aortic tissue and primary cells
  • Characterization of mechanisms of free radical production in endothelial cells
  • Smooth muscle cell phenotype alterations in aortic disease
  • Vasa vasorum neovascularization
  • Role of perivascular progenitor cells in medial layer biology
  • Bioreactor-based culture models of BAV-associated aortopathy
  • Adventitial inflammation


Updated 06-Jun-2016