NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NHLBI/
National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute: NHLBI Programs
Heart and vascular diseases affect at least 58 million people and continue as the
leading cause of death in the United States. Important progress in reduction of morbidity
and mortality from these diseases has been achieved since 1963, when coronary heart
disease mortality was at its peak.
The NHLBI uses research grants, program project grants, specialized center grants,
cooperative agreements, research contracts, research career development awards, and
institutional and individual national research service awards to support research and
research training. The four program divisions and one center of the NHLBI offer support in
the following areas.
Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases
The DHVD plans and directs a program of fundamental and clinical research in heart and
vascular diseases. AIDS-associated cardiovascular disorders are also included. The
division provides training and career development for research in these areas; specific
programs foster career development for minority students and scientists. Included among
them are minority institutional research training awards, minority school faculty
development award, research development award for minority faculty, and short-term
training for minority students program.
The division is divided into two areas: heart and vascular research. The heart research
program supports clinical and fundamental studies in cardiology. Specific areas of
interest include arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies, congenital heart disease, heart failure
and shock, ischemic heart disease, interventional cardiology, infections of the heart, and
relevant bioengineering. The vascular research program oversees investigations in
atherosclerosis; hypertension; vascular biology; vascular medicine; cardiovascular
homeostasis and bionutrition; and molecular genetics and medicine.
Two new SCOR programs were initiated by the DHVD in 1997. One is investigating gene
transfer principles to advance the technology and its potential application to
cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic diseases. The SCOR centers will provide the
basic science foundation needed for gene transfer technology to succeed. The other program
focuses on molecular medicine and atherosclerosis and is applying molecular approaches to
advance understanding of the etiology and pathobiology of atherosclerotic lesions.
Research findings will enable scientists to employ a systematic targeting and design
approach to clinical interventions.
In addition, the division initiated new programs to:
- Test the ability of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) to
alleviate strain on the ailing heart muscle in patients with congestive heart failure.
Investigators will compare a wearable LVAD to optimal medical treatment in patients who
are not candidates for heart transplants.
- Examine the role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in
heart, blood vessel, blood, and lung diseases. Goals are to define mechanisms by which
mtDNA mutations cause tissue-specific, progressive diseases and to elucidate
cause-and-effect relationships between alterations and pathological phenotypes.
- Determine the sequence of approximately 25,000 genes. The
initiative should expand opportunities offered by the Rat Genome Project. Development of a
rat map will allow researchers to work with both human and rat genomes to find genes,
understand their role in disease, and develop new therapeutic and prevention approaches to
- Elucidate mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular dysfunction
and disease that have been seen in HIV-positive patients. Researchers will explore the
role of virus, viral proteins, immune cells, cytokine production, growth factor
expression, and co-infection with other pathogens in altered function and disease
manifestations of the cardiovascular system.
- Identify mechanisms involved in the etiology of
homocyst(e)inemia and those involved in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and thrombosis
associated with homocyst(e)inemia.
Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications
The DECA has primary responsibility for epidemiologic studies, clinical trials,
prevention studies, and demonstration and education research in heart and vascular, lung,
and blood diseases and for basic and applied research in behavioral medicine. The division
identifies research opportunities; stimulates and conducts research on causes, prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment; and assesses need for technologic development in acquisition and
application of research findings. It evaluates and uses basic and clinical research
findings in defined populations (such as occupational groups, school children, health
professionals, and minorities) and community settings, with an emphasis on studies of
primary and secondary prevention in nonhospitalized patients or populations.
The division is divided into two programs: clinical applications and prevention and
epidemiology and biometry. Clinical applications and prevention oversees research in prevention of heart and
vascular, pulmonary, and blood diseases through activities such as clinical trials, health
promotion- disease prevention community interventions, health education research,
nutrition research, and behavioral medicine.
Several ongoing programs include clinical trials to:
- Determine whether newer antihypertensive treatments
(angiotensin-convert-enzyme inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and alpha-adrenergic
blockers) are as effective as or more effective than standard diuretic drug therapy in
reducing incidence of major CHD events in high-risk hypertensive patients. A
lipid-lowering treatment component is also being tested in a subset of patients.
- Determine whether addition of a beta-blocking agent (bucindolol)
to standard therapy reduces total mortality among patients with moderate to severe
congestive heart failure.
- Compare the effectiveness of two strategies for management of
fibrillation to reduce total mortality: antiarrhythmic drugs to maintain sinus rhythm and
drugs and/or catheter ablation to control heart rate.
The behavioral medicine area encourages basic and clinical collaborations between
biomedical and behavior scientists. Targeted areas include risk factor modification
(smoking prevention and cessation, physical activity, diet, weight loss, and blood
pressure regulation); role of psychosocial factors in development of cardiovascular
disease (anger, hostility, anxiety, exhaustion, stress, and depression); role of social
support in recovery; biobehavioral treatment of hypertension; factors affecting adherence
to medical regimens; and treatment variables affecting quality of life. Prevention and
education programs support research to test effectiveness and demonstrate capability of
preventive interventions that are designed to reduce CVD risk factors. Specific programs
attempt to identify psychosocial and organizational factors that may facilitate or
interfere with prevention of CVD.
The Epidemiology and Biometry Program supports and conducts epidemiological studies of
heart and vascular, lung, and blood diseases in defined populations in the U.S. and other
countries. It focuses on development and progression of CVD risk factors in children and
young adults; development and progression of atherosclerosis measured noninvasively or at
autopsy in middle-age or older adults; and development and progression of overt
cardiovascular and pulmonary disease in older adults. Other areas include genetic and
environmental influences on CVD and its risk factors; trends in incidence, prevalence, and
mortality from CVD, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, congestive heart failure, and
cardiomyopathy; and relationships between insulin, insulin resistance, and overt diabetes
and CVD and its risk factors.
In 1997, the division initiated two new programs on womens health and heart
disease. One will assess whether hormone replacement therapy and/or antioxidant treatment
will stabilize or inhibit progression and induce regression of coronary plaques. It will
elucidate mechanisms by which these treatments modify atherosclerosis. The other will
focus on improving diagnostic reliability of cardiovascular testing in evaluation of
ischemic heart disease in women. Secondary objectives are to develop safe, efficient, and
cost-effective diagnostic approaches for evaluating women with suspected ischemic heart
disease; to determine frequency of myocardial ischemia in absence of significant
epicardial coronary stenosis; and to ascertain frequency of nonischemic or noncardiac
Office of Prevention, Education, and Control
The OPEC, located in the NHLBI Office of the Director, is the institutes
technology transfer arm, relaying results of heart, lung, and blood research to health
care professionals, their patients, and the public. Its function is to disseminate and
translate up-to-date research findings that will help practitioners be more effective, and
provide scientific knowledge to patients and the public that will enable them to make
The institute has targetted six areas for educational emphasis. They include: high
blood pressure; cholesterol; asthma; heart attack alert; sleep disorders; and obesity.
Three--high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity--address major modifiable risk
factors for CVD.
The National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP) was established with a goal
of reducing death and disability related to high blood pressure through professional,
patient, and public education. Strategies to achieve this goal include stimulating
education and information programs to increase public awareness about the disease,
promoting activities to encourage detection of the disease especially for underserved
groups, encouraging hypertensive patients to seek medical care and follow their
doctors advice, providing education programs and materials for health professionals,
and providing technical support to community health programs so they may carry these
activities to their geographic areas.
The Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection,
Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VI) was released in November
1997 and is an update of the previous guideline (JNC V, 1992). It provides a
discussion of new pharmacologic therapies including combination drugs, the role of managed
care in treatment of high blood pressure, and information from recently completed
randomized controlled trials on hypertension prevention and treatment. In addition, it
includes a guide to help clinicians individualize treatment by stratifying patients
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) was initiated to educate health
professionals and the public about high blood cholesterol as a risk factor for coronary
heart disease (CHD) and about benefits of lowering cholesterol levels to reduce illness
and death from CHD. As shown by results from the 1995 Cholesterol Awareness Survey of
physicians and the public, the NCEP has made significant progress toward reducing the
prevalence of elevated blood cholesterol. From 1983 to 1995, the percentage of the public
who had their cholesterol checked rose from 35 to 75 percent. Moreover, in 1995,
physicians reported initiating diet and drug treatment at much lower cholesterol levels
than in 1983, consistent with NCEP recommendations. Major elements of the NCEP guidelines
for detection and treatment have become established practice.
Many patients, however, are still not receiving adequate cholesterol-lowering
treatment, despite conclusive clinical trial results showing sharp reductions in rates of
heart attack, CHD death, and death from all causes. In 1997, the NCEP published a
monograph for physicians that reviews the scientific evidence that cholesterol lowering in
CHD patients produces dramatic benefits. It summarizes the clinical practice guidelines
contained in the Second Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and
Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATP II) and provides guidance on
implementing dietary and drug treatment and improving patient adherence to these
The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) was initiated to raise
awareness of asthma as a serious, chronic disease and to promote more effective management
of asthma through professional, patient, and public education. Its role is to provide
up-to-date information on asthma care.
In 1997 the NAEPP published the Expert Panel Report 2: Guidelines for the Diagnosis
and Management of Asthma that updated the 1991 edition. It presents evidence-based
recommendations for diagnosis and management that will help clinicians and patients make
appropriate decisions about asthma care. A Practical Guide to the Diagnosis and
Management of Asthma was also prepared to assist primary care physicians in
implementing recommendations in the guidelines. Recommendations for managing asthma are
communicated to patients through a fact sheet.
The NHAAP was initiated to reduce morbidity and mortality from acute MI and sudden
cardiac arrest through education of health care professionals, patients, and the public
about the importance of rapid identification and treatment of individuals with heart
attack symptoms. The program develops educational materials on symptom recognition and
appropriate reactions and collaborates with health care organizations and state and
During its first 5 years, the NHAAP produced several papers covering important issues
related to patient/bystander recognition, prehospital treatment and responses, and
emergency department management of patients who have heart attack symptoms. In July 1994,
the NHLBI funded a research program, "Rapid Early Action for Coronary
Treatment," to study effects of educational efforts on care sought for symptoms of an
acute heart attack. Results of this study are being analyzed and will assist the NHAAP in
developing effective messages and supporting materials for its public education campaigns.
In 1997 the NHAAP published recommendations on reducing prehospital delay in patients
at high risk for acute MI, an evaluation of technologies for diagnosing patients with
acute cardiac ischemia in the emergency department, and community planning considerations
for ensuring access to timely care for patients with acute coronary syndromes.
The NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative (OEI) was initiated to inform the public and
health professionals on health risks associated with overweight and obesity. Obesity is
not only an independent risk factor for CVD but also a contributor to high blood pressure
and high blood cholesterol and is related to sleep apnea. In an effort to educate health
care professionals on treatment for this condition, the OEI, as part of its high-risk
strategy, convened an expert panel to consider scientific evidence related to
identification, evaluation, and treatment of obesity in adults, especially those with
other risk factors for CVD. Together with the NIDDKs National Task Force on the
Prevention and Treatment of Obesity, the panel developed clinical practice guidelines for
use by physicians and other health care providers. The report is expected to be released
in late 1998.
The institute Ad Hoc Committee on Minority Populations, was established to facilitate
communication between minority communities and the NHBPEP. As the NHLBI developed new
programs, the role of the committee was expanded. Today, it provides direct input to the
NHLBI regarding development and implementation of all outreach and education projects
specifically designed to improve the health status of minority populations.
The NHLBI and NIH Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH), are currently
collaborating on several projects associated with improving cardiovascular health of
blacks and Latinos. One such project, the National Physicians Network, tries to get
physicians who provide care to blacks to become more involved in prevention and education
activities in black communities.
Results from the NHLBI Report of the Working Group on Research in Coronary Heart
Disease in Blacks indicated that, even when controlling for socioeconomic,
demographic, and medical care factors, blacks are less knowledgeable about CHD symptoms,
risk factors, and methods of prevention than whites. To address these issues, the NHLBI
and the ORMH are collaborating with historically black colleges and universities,
particularly those with medical schools and allied health programs, to conduct forums to
share the latest research and treatment information to prevent and control CVD risk
The Latino CVD Prevention and Outreach Initiative, Salud para su Corazon (Health
for Your Heart), is a comprehensive community-based health promotion project designed to
raise awareness of CVD prevention and promote heart-healthy lifestyles among Latinos in
the Washington, D.C., area. This model project will provide the foundation for similar
health campaigns in Latino communities across the Nation.
In April 1997 the ad hoc committee met to develop a 5-year strategic plan to reduce the
burden of CVD among minority populations. Recommendations from its report will be used to
identify directions for research to advance cardiovascular health promotion among minority
"Building Healthy Hearts for American Indians" is a pilot project recently
established to increase knowledge and promote heart health among this population. Health
promotion activities and materials developed as part of the project will address
cardiovascular health needs of American Indians by incorporating their cultural values,
traditions, and lifestyles.
Division of Lung Diseases
Lung diseases are among the leading causes of death and disability in the United
States. Excluding cancer, it accounts for 227,000 deaths annually, and is a contributing
cause to perhaps an equal number of additional deaths.
More than 25 million persons suffer from chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, or
other obstructive or interstitial lung diseases. In 1995, pulmonary diseases accounted for
28 percent of all hospitalizations of children under 15 years of age.
The division plans and directs research in lung diseases, encompassing basic and
targeted research, clinical trials and demonstration trials, national pulmonary SCORs,
technological development, and application of findings. It assesses the national need for
research in causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lung diseases; in
technological development; and for manpower training in these areas.
The division is divided into two programs: airway biology and disease and lung biology
and disease. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and environment, cystic
fibrosis, and neurobiology and sleep are under the purview of the airway biology and
disease program. Targeted research programs include delineation of genetic and metabolic
defects underlying pulmonary complications associated with cystic fibrosis, ion channels
in pulmonary cells, alpha- 1-proteinase inhibitor deficiency, pathogenesis of smoking- and
environmentally related airway diseases, genetics and treatment of asthma, gene therapy,
and neurochemical in control of breathing.
The lung biology and disease program oversees research related to AIDS and
tuberculosis, critical care and acute lung injury, developmental biology and pediatrics,
immunology and fibrosis, and lung cell and vascular biology. Projects representative
include: a clinical network for treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome; an
epidemiologic study of sarcoidosis; an investigation of lung injury following bone marrow
transplantation; a clinical study of the cardiopulmonary complications of HIV infection in
infants and children; several programs to address pathobiology of TB and Pneumocystis
carinii and basic cell biology of pulmonary manifestations of AIDS; a program to develop
lung specific drug delivery systems for enhanced TB treatment; and a program to design
behavioral interventions for control of TB.
In 1997, several new programs were initiated to:
- Stimulate basic research on the etiology and pathogenesis of
primary pulmonary hypertension.
- Encourage research on cellular and molecular mechanisms that
influence host susceptibility to HIV-associated lung diseases such as tuberculosis, fungal
infections, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, and pulmonary Kaposis sarcoma.
- Support pilot studies that will develop preliminary data for
research projects to examine direct and indirect roles of reactive oxygen species in the
etiology, initiation, and exacerbation of noncancer human diseases, especially pulmonary
and cardiovascular diseases.
- Determine long-term outcome of lung volume reduction surgery
(LVRS) on function, mortality, and morbidity, and appropriate patient selection criteria.
A SCOR program recently initiated focuses on three areas: pathobiology of fibrotic lung
disease, pathobiology of lung development, and cellular and molecular mechanisms of
asthma. The fibrotic disease component will investigate molecular events in injury healing
and aberrant progression to fibrotic disease. The lung development component will identify
molecular variables involved in lung development and assess the impact of injury during
critical periods. The asthma component will increase understanding of cellular and
molecular mechanisms of the disease, including those mechanisms underlying the biological
impact of environmental factors.
Division of Blood Diseases and Resources
Blood diseases, including both acute and chronic disorders, resulted in 266,000 deaths
in 1996; 257,000 of them due to thrombotic disorders and 9,000 due to diseases of the red
blood cells and bleeding disorders.
The DBDR plans, directs, and evaluates programs in hematology, hematologic diseases
(except malignancies of the blood and immunologic and other disorders of white blood
cells), transfusion medicine, blood resources, and marrow and stem cell transplantation.
Programs include basic research; prevention; applied research and development; clinical
trials; and education, demonstration, and control activities. Research on the use of blood
and blood components in treatment and prevention of disease and management of the
nations blood resources and transplantable tissue are also supported. Many support
mechanisms are used, including research grants, contracts, cooperative agreements,
centers, grants, career development awards, fellowships, and research training grants.
The division is divided into two areas, blood diseases and blood resources. The blood
diseases area supports research in SCD and cellular hematology. Targeted programs include
disorders of the red blood cell and hematopoiesis, thalassemia, and SCD. Investigators
studying thalassemia focus their attention on genetics, pathophysiology, prevention,
diagnosis, treatment, iron chelation, development of pharmacologic agents that enhance
fetal hemoglobin production or rehydrate red blood cells, and development of animal models
for the disease.
In the area of hematopoiesis disorders, research is supported on growth factors and
cytokines, hematopoietic stem cell biology, stem cell purification, stem cell
transplantation research, aplastic anemias and other nonneoplastic disorders of bone
marrow, and pathophysiology of bone marrow in AIDS and related hematologic disorders.
Hereditary and acquired anemias resulting from disorders of hemoglobin, red blood cell
membrane, or enzyme systems are additional targeted programs. SCD research is directed
towards membrane function, red cell rheology, and adherence of red cells to vascular
endothelium. A multidisciplinary approach to SCD is supported through comprehensive sickle
The blood resources area oversees studies in transfusion medicine, bone marrow
transplantation, and thrombosis and hemostasis. It supports basic, clinical, and applied
research on unrelated-donor marrow transplantation and pathogenesis, prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment of major complications of transplantation. Studies of
transplantation of stem cells from marrow, peripheral, and cord blood are emphasized.
The program also supports research on thromboembolic, platelet, and hemorrhagic
disorders, as well as megakaryocytes. Other targeted areas include blood component and
blood derivative therapy, safety of blood therapy, immunohematology, development of blood
substitutes, and blood resource management. Research to develop and test methods to reduce
risk of HIV-infection by transfusion of blood, blood components, and blood derivatives is
In 1997, the division supported three new initiatives to:
- Develop broadly neutralizing human anti-HIV monoclonal
antibodies (mAb) and animal model systems that will be able to evaluate their
effectiveness as passive immunotherapy for prevention and treatment of HIV infection. The
projects goal is to produce sufficient effective mAb (or mixtures of mAbs), perhaps
in combination with other products, to permit testing in clinical trials.
- Study cellular basis of hematological abnormalities that are
common in AIDS patients and that have a significant impact on course of treatment.
- Delineate the function and regulation of factors that are
involved in regulation of growth and differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor
cells. Project goals are to identify the cascade of interactive events in early phases of
hematopoietic cell differentiation and understand their role in maintenance of progenitor
National Center on Sleep Disorders
The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) plans, directs, and supports a
program of basic, clinical, and applied research; health education; and prevention-related
research in sleep and sleep disorders. It maintains surveillance over developments in its
program areas; assesses the national need for research on causes, diagnosis, treatment,
and prevention of sleep disorders; and coordinates sleep research activities across the
Since its inception, the NCSDR has initiated a multicenter study to determine if sleep
apnea is an independent or contributing risk factor for development of cardiovascular and
cerebrovascular disease; a collaboration with NICHD to establish a campaign to reduce risk
of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); a partnership for "Drive Alert...Arrive
Alive" program with the Department of Transportation and the National Sleep
Foundation (NSF); and a joint project with NIMH, NICHD, and NIAMS to examine the molecular
biology and genetics of sleep and sleep disorders.
Division of Intramural Research
The 16 Bethesda-based laboratories and branches conduct clinical research on normal and
pathophysiologic functioning of cardiac, pulmonary, blood and endocrine systems and basic
research on normal and abnormal cell behavior at the molecular level.
The Cardiology Branch conducts basic and clinical investigations in hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy (HCM). The branch explores genetic causes of HCM and the phenotypic
variation in its clinical presentation. By studying possible mechanisms that trigger
sudden death in persons with HCM, investigators hope to find an effective treatment. Other
areas include: vascular biology associated with endothelial dysfunction, molecular
mechanisms involved in restenosis following angioplasty, interventions to facilitate
collateral growth in ischemic heart disease, and application of nuclear cardiology
techniques to study abnormalities in performance and metabolism in cardiac patients.
The Hematology Branch performs research on the pathogenesis of hematologic diseases at
the molecular and cellular levels and seeks to develop strategies for treatment.
Individual, investigator-led units focus on bone marrow failure and its mechanism,
especially immune suppression of hematopoiesis and interaction of viruses with
hematopoietic cells. Bone marrow transplantation--autologous and allogeneic--with emphases
on stem cell isolation and mechanisms of graft-versus-host and graft-versus-leukemia
effects is another area of concern. Other activities include research on pathogenesis and
treatment of aplastic anemia and B19 parvovirus-induced disease.
Vasoactive substances regulating blood pressure and hypertension, molecular events
leading to vascular hypertrophy and hyper-plasia, and studies of pheochromocytoma are
principal interests of the Hypertension-Endocrine Branch.
The Molecular Disease Branch is concerned with elucidating molecular mechanisms
involved in lipid transport and metabolism in normal individuals and patients with
disorders of lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis. The branch also conducts clinical
studies on effects of drugs and diet.
The principal goal of the Molecular Hematology Branch is to develop the understanding
and technology necessary to carry out human gene therapy. Targeted diseases include
genetic and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Mechanisms and regulation of gene
expression are also studied.
The Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine Branch focuses efforts toward understanding basic
mechanisms in inflammatory and immune processes in health and disease, with emphasis on
pathogenesis of disorders of the human lung. A broad range of laboratory approaches,
particularly those of molecular biology, are used to study proteases and antiproteases.
Emphasis is given to defining mutations in relevant genes and how they cause human
The Laboratory of Biochemistry is involve in research concerned with elucidation of
various mechanisms of metabolic regulation. Special interests include physiologic and
pathologic effects of oxidation, signal transduction, and protein chemistry.
The Laboratory of Biophysical Chemistry investigates physical and chemical properties
of molecules in order to relate their structures to biochemical functions. Techniques used
include nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, x-ray crystallography, scanning
tunneling/force field microscopy, chromatography, and laboratory computer applications.
The Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics studies molecular mechanisms that regulate gene
expression during embryonic development. Interests include homeobox genes and
neuron-specific enhancer sequences.
The Laboratory of Animal Medicine and Surgery studies intracardiac flow dynamics with
digital acquisition and analysis of color Doppler ultrasound imaging techniques.
The Laboratory of Cell Biology investigates diverse biomedical problems using multiple
approaches. It directs attention towards biophysical studies of bioenergetics in
eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells; biochemical and genetic studies of heat-shock proteins;
molecular mechanisms of cell motility; and development and application of laser-based,
time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to understand the structure of macromolecules.
The goal of the Laboratory of Cardiac Energetics is to develop a better understanding
of cellular processes involved in performance of work by the heart in vivo. Strategies are
under development for prevention and treatment of heart disease. State-of-the-art
noninvasive magnetic resonance (MR) and optical spectroscopy are used, as well as
conventional microspectrophotometric imaging techniques, to study cardiac biochemistry and
function in vivo.
The Laboratory of Cell Signaling studies mechanisms by which signal activated
phospolipases like phospho-inositide-specific phospholipase C and phosphocholine-specific
phospholipase D are modulated and the role of these enzymes in human disease.
The goal of the Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism is to understand kidney
function. Major objectives are to elucidate basic processes at molecular and cellular
levels, determine how they are controlled, and analyze how they are integrated to result
in overall renal function.
The Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology investigates regulation, expression, and
function of contractile proteins in vertebrate muscle and nonmuscle cells. Studies use
techniques of molecular genetics, protein biochemistry, and video-enhanced microscopy.
Areas of particular interest include mechanisms responsible for regulating contractile
activity of smooth muscle and nonmuscle cells and factors that regulate expression of
genes encoding contractile proteins.
The Laboratory of Molecular Immunology focuses attention on T-cell activation process
in normal and pathological states. Scientific findings derived from this research will
lead to a better understanding of immunodeficiency, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
Scientific studies to elucidate the mast cells activation process will provide information
on its role in asthma and other allergic diseases.