BCVS- Maria I. Kontaridis

I am the recently appointed Director of Research at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica, NY and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (part-time), where I maintain a faculty appointment in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. My research focuses on understanding the molecular signaling pathways that lead to aberrant regulation of embryonic development and mediate onset of adult disease. In particular, we study the role of protein tyrosine phosphatases and small GTPases in heart development and disease. We have published seminal papers in this field and have garnered a number of extramural grants, both from foundations, industry and NIH. We have also generated a number of tools and techniques including generation of novel in vivo mouse modeling systems and cutting-edge molecular biology techniques, to help conduct the work proposed herein. In this R01, we propose to investigate the direct functional role(s) of RhoA in mediating fibrosis in response to cardiac stress and injury. Using a combined, comprehensive set of biochemical, proteomic and genetic approaches, this proposal will help us understand the functional significance and mechanisms by which RhoA can regulate fibrotic events that lead to heart disease and failure. In addition, through use of novel nanoparticle technology, we will utilize cell specific delivery of inhibitors to the downstream RhoA effectors, MRTF and SRF, in an effort to bypass upstream protective effects of RhoA, while at the same time, directly targeting deleterious signals that drive myofibroblast activation and fibrosis.

Medical Specialty:

Cardiac Development,Genetics and Molecular Biology

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