The research projects conducted by UNMC faculty within the area of Cardiovascular Biology encompass a wide range of investigations related to the fundamental understanding of how the heart and blood vessels function in health and in disease. Contemporary scientists examine these issues at all levels of biological activity, from the molecular and cellular, to the coordinated integration of separate organ systems that maintain homeostasis of the entire organism.
Research training in Cardiovascular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is designed to optimize the ability of incoming students to address the many research problems that exist over this broad range. The interdisciplinary environment of the training program, which is fostered by the size and composition of the graduate faculty, facilitates the acquisition of modern experimental techniques and the development of the intellectual tools required for their implementation in the study of current problems in cardiovascular medicine.
These programs can be categorized into four general themes that represent contemporary strategies for the understanding of cardiovascular function. There are no clear lines of demarcation between these categories. Indeed, interactions across thematic lines are routine and encouraged. Nevertheless, this organization is useful for the purpose of describing the breadth of research opportunities available.
Cardiovascular Development: These studies focus on the fundamental mechanisms regulating cardiovascular development and related mechanisms responsible for congenital defects.
- Regulation of heart and blood vessel development
- Gene expression during cardiac development
- Cellular and molecular mechanisms of congenital malformations
Cell Transport and Signaling: These studies examine the molecular mechanisms that regulate myocardial function at the single cell level.
- Mechanisms of control of ion channel and transporter activity
- Regulation of cell surface receptors and associated second messenger systems
- Viral pathogenesis of the myocardium.
Microvascular Function: The microcirculation is carefully regulated. These studies examine regulatory mechanisms and their dysfunction in disease.
- Regulation of microcirculatory resistance vessels
- Pathophysiological alterations in capillary permeability in the brain and kidney
- The effects of ischemia on cell and tissue function.
Neuro-humoral Control: These studies are concerned with the neural and hormonal control of the cardiovascular system.
- Reflex control of cardiovascular and renal function
- Humoral regulators of blood volume and pressure
- Stretch receptor and chemosensitive receptor endings in the cardiovascular system