Fall 2018: Seminar Series

September 18, 2018

Jason Nasse, PhD 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Mentor: Carmela Abraham, PhD)

“Identifying Klotho Transcription Factors and Protein Interactions”

September 25, 2018

Mark Fishman, MD

Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University

“Genetics of Social Behavior in Zebrafish”

October 2, 2018 

Guillermo Tearney MD, PhD

Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

“Future of Intravascular OCT”

Intravascular OCT (IVOCT) is a clinically-available, catheter-based imaging modality that obtains high (10 µm) resolution images of the coronary wall. Currently, IVOCT is being pursued as a method for improving PCI outcomes and may have some utility for detecting microstructural features of vulnerable plaque. While IVOCT is very powerful, it is incapable of detecting more than superficial architectural morphology and thus does cannot completely characterize intracoronary lesions. In our laboratory, we have been developing newer IVOCT technologies that address this gap. Multimodality technologies  such as OCT-near infrared fluorescence (OCT-NIRF) and OCT-near infrared spectroscopy (OCT-NIRS) offer the potential to image complementary structural and molecular/chemical information. A more advanced 1-µm-resolution form of OCT (µOCT) makes it possible to see cells and sub cellular structures in the vessel wall using a coronary catheter. This next generation of OCT technology will improve our capacity to better understand human coronary atherosclerosis and precisely characterize coronary phenotypes in individual patients.

October 9, 2018

Matthias Nahrendorf MD, PhD

Professor, Harvard Medical School

“Macrophages in cardiovascular health”

October 16, 2018

Isabelle Deschenes, PhD

Professor, Case Western Reserve University

“Identifying Mechanisms Linked to Sudden Cardiac Death”

October 19, 2018

Douglas Lewandowski, PhD

Professor of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University 

“Targeting Maladaptive Metabolic Remodeling in and Around the Failing Heart”

October 23, 2018

Reza Nezafat, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

“Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Diffuse Fibrosis and Inflammation”

November 6, 2018

Francesca Seta, PhD

Assistant Professor, Boston University

“Novel molecular pathways in vascular smooth muscle and vascular function”

November 20, 2018

Michael Chin MD, PhD

Research Director, Tufts Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center and Research Institute

“From Bedside to Bench and Back Again: A Tale of Two Cardiomyopathies”

November 27, 2018

Sekar Kathiresan, MD 

Professor, Harvard Medical School

“Genetic basis for heart attack”


November 29, 2018

Christiane Ferran MD, PhD

Lewis Thomas Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School

“A20 and Vascular Homeodynamics: A Tale of Discovery and Translation”

December 4, 2018

Iris Jaffe MD, PhD

Executive Director, Molecular Cardiology Research Institute 

Professor of Medicine, Elisa Kent Mendelsohn Professor of Molecular Cardiology
“Vascular Mineralocorticoid Receptors in Atherosclerosis and Aging”


Iris Jaffe

December 2018

Title: Vascular Mineralocorticoid Receptors in Atherosclerosis and Aging

Abstract: Activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease including hypertension, heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death.  The aldosterone-activated mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) is the terminal step in the RAAS. The Jaffe lab has focused on understanding the role of the MR in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) and endothelial cells (EC) in promoting cardiovascular disease.  We have demonstrated using tissue specific knockout mouse models that MR in EC contributes to endothelial dysfunction in response to cardiovascular risk factors (obesity and hyperlipidemia) and to vascular inflammation in atherosclerosis by sexually dimorphic mechanisms. Aging is the most potent and universal cardiovascular risk factor. We recently demonstrated that MR increases with aging in human vascular SMCs. In mouse models, MR in SMC contributes directly to blood pressure regulation with aging by contributing to myogenic tone.  The mechanism involves miR-155-mediated regulation of L-type calcium channels and angiotensin receptors to promote vascular oxidative stress and vasoconstriction.  SMC MR also contributes to vascular stiffness with aging by regulating vascular fibrosis gene expression. We are exploring whether this new understanding of the role of vascular MR in atherosclerosis and aging has potential to yield novel targets to prevent or treat the cardiovascular complications of obesity and aging in a sex-specific manner.

December 11, 2018

Navin K. Kapur, MD

Executive Director, The CardioVascular Center for Research and Innovation 

Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine

‘Molecular Mechanisms and Myocardial Remodeling: What can we learn from Loading and Unloading the Heart’

December 18., 2018

Saumya Das, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Co-Director of Resynchronization and Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics Program

‘Leveraging RNAs as functional biomarkers and novel therapeutics in heart disease’