Cardiovascular biology and cell biology

The last 50 years have seen cardiovascular science emerged as an independent subject in the field of medicine. Modern day living comes with its ailments and most common of them are related to heart, hypertension and cardiovascular disorders. In India, cardio-vascular diseases are amongst the three major health disorders and amount to two million deaths per year. Vascular Biology Lab at the AU-KBC Research Centre is unraveling the molecular causes of cardiovascular disease at the cellular level. Basic interest is to understand the changes in endothelium; lining of the inner lumen of blood vessels and its implications in angiogenesis and cardiovascular diseases in relation to nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator and signaling molecule. Therapeutic-targeting of pathological foci with nitric oxide is another goal of the lab.

Regenerative Medicine

Recent advancement of stem cell research gave a new dimension to regenerative medicine. This area offers a wide range of clinical applications spanning from bone replacement to cancer cure. Life Science division of the AU-KBC Research Centre is engaged in stem cell research, which focuses stem cell based treatment of liver and lung diseases. Scientists in the centre also lead research program in cell biology to produce transplantable angiogenesis templates in biodegradable scaffolds that promotes new blood vessel formation in diseased tissues and organs.

Epigenetic Markers for Diseases

Epigenetics refers to heritable changes in gene expression that are not directly attributable to sequence alterations. Epigenetic mechanisms like chromatin remodeling, imprinting, DNA Methylation provide an extra layer of transcriptional control and regulate gene expression. Moreover it provides the missing link between genetics, disease and environment and hence plays a decisive role in the etiology of much human pathology. Our research efforts focus on developing a protocol for efficient mapping of genomic methylation pattern. Combining our expertise on fluorescence microscopy and low-light detection, we are developing a platform for capillary based electrophoresis tuned for methylation mapping. Simultaneously, we focus on unveiling the methylation pattern in GLUT4 gene implicated in diabetes and xxxx an important play in gastric cancer.

Dynamics of Membrane-Cytoskeletal Network

The cardiovascular system is subject to constant physical stimulus in the form of blood flow. In turn, its response to this flow ultimately is physical terms: maintenance of vascular tone, contraction of cardiac muscle etc. Therefore, in addition to being stimulated mechanically, the end results of external stimuli and signaling pathways they trigger they involve a dynamic change in the mechanical properties of the tissue under stimulus. Using optical tweezers, we measure the membrane stiffness, viscoelasticity and fluidity of these component tissues (the endothelium, smooth muscle, cardiac muscle) at the single-cell level and study the single-cell response to biochemical or physiological perturbation. The membrane stiffness and viscoelasticity are linked to the physical and solid-like properties of the plasma membrane and the underlying cytoskeleton, whereas the fluidity is linked to the packing and order of the fluid-like plasma membrane. It is our goal to characterize these mechanical changes as part of the cellís responses to external stimuli to understand the importance of the physical nature of the cell and its environment in relation to normal and abnormal cellular function.





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