My lab investigates molecular mechanisms and translatable biomarkers that play a role in the dysfunction and rescue of striated muscles. Our lab aims to combine genetics, epigenetics and metabolism, to garner a deeper understanding of muscle physiology and pharmacology.
An essential focus of the lab centers on "precision dosing" for glucocorticoid steroids in heart and muscle regulation. Glucocorticoids, such as dexamethasone, prednisone and deflazacort, are widely used as immunosuppressants. They have a pervasive, yet overlooked, impact on metabolic homeostasis and striated muscle function.
We are investigating how repetitive versus pulsatile regimens of glucocorticoids remodel energy production and performance in several contexts of disease, including obesity, unhealthy aging and heart failure. Moreover, we are leveraging the newly discovered pharmacological mechanisms to expand the concept of precision dosing for these drugs to "chrono-pharmacology." In this line of investigation, we are learning what the circadian and molecular mechanisms are that govern steroid pharmacology and physiological response in striated muscles. Previously, we discovered that a change in intake frequency dramatically changes the effects of glucocorticoid steroids from pro-obesity to anti-obesity.
Most recently, I received the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) K01 Development Award (2019).
Additional recognitions and awards include:
- Silver Medal Award at Jamboree International Genetically Engineered Machine (IGEM) International Competition, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, (2008)
- First European Molecular Biology Association (EMBO) prize for Poster Presentation at the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) EMBO meeting, Paris, France, (2011)
- International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Travel Grant for 10th ISSCR International Congress, Yokohama, Japan, (2012)
- Flanders (FWO) Fellowship (postdoctoral), (Belgium, (2013)
- Duchenne Parent Project Award for Best Presentation at 11th Indian Institute of Management (IIM) International Congress, Italy, (2014)
- French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM) Telethon Trampoline Grant (mentored research grant), Belgium, (2015)
- Muscular Dystrophy Association American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) Development Grant #479350, (2017)
- Postdoctoral Professional Development Travel Award from Northwestern University (2018)
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) Outstanding Poster Award at New Directions in Biology and Disease of Skeletal Muscle Conference, New Orleans, LA, (2018)
- Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Travel Award for Nutrient Sensing and Metabolic Signaling Conference, Snowmass, CO, (2018)
- Poster Award, Dept. of Pharmacology Retreat, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, (2019)
Muscle and heart physiology; pharmacology; epigenetics; metabolism
Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Molecular Cardiovascular Biology