Francesca Seta, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of MedicineScreen shot 2014-04-03 at 10.00.35 PM


B.S., University “G. D’Annunzio”, Chieti-Pescara, Italy
PhD in Pharmacology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY, USA
Postdoc, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

General field of research:

Vascular Biology


Affiliations other than medicine:

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute


Contact information:

Department of Medicine, Vascular Biology Section

650 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118 (Room X726)



Other Website(s)


arterial stiffness, obesity, hypertension, oxidative stress

Summary of research interest:

The main focus of our research is to understand the molecular and genetic mechanisms of arterial stiffness and possible pharmacological or life style interventions to prevent or reverse it. Arterial stiffness, a vascular condition characterized by gradual loss of large blood vessel elasticity, occurs naturally with aging or prematurely in obese individuals. This phenomenon has recently emerged in several clinical studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and it can lead to cardiovascular complications, such as hypertension, or deterioration of kidney and brain functions. We use innovative in vivo and in vitro approaches to measure arterial stiffness and blood pressure, and to dissect active and passive properties of blood vessels. Inflammation, increased production of oxidant species, changes in structural and biomechanical properties of blood vessels and genetic components are investigated as possible contributors to arterial stiffness. In addition, Dr. Seta’s lab investigates mechanisms of aortic dissection and aneurysm, deadly cardiovascular conditions affecting the aorta, for which, currently, there are no pharmacological treatments.

Recent publications:

Qin Z., Hou X., Weisbrod M.R., Seta F., Cohen R.A. and X. Tong Nox2 mediates high fat, high sucrose diet-induced nitric oxide dysfunction and inflammation in smooth muscle cells. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 2014 Mar 11;72C:56-63. PMID: 24631774.

Weisbrod M.R., Shiang T., Al Sayah L., Fry L.J., Bajpai S., Reinhart-King A.C., Lob E.H., Santhanam L., Mitchell G., Cohen R.A. and F. Seta. Arterial Stiffening Precedes Systolic Hypertension in Diet-induced Obesity. Hypertension 2013 Dec;62(6):1105-10. PMID: 2406089 (selected for an editorial commentary).

Ghatnekar A., Chrobak I., Reese C., Stawski L., Seta F., Wirrig E., Markiewicz M., Asano Y., Harley R, Silver R., Feghali-Bostwick C., M. Trojanowska. Endothelial GATA-6 deficiency promotes Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Am J Pathol. 2013 Jun;182(6):2391-406. PMID: 23583651.

Seta F.  and Markus Bachschmid. Cyclooxygenase pathway of the arachidonate cascade. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, Apr 2012, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester., DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023401 (Invited Review).

Seta F., Rahmani M., Turner P.V. and C.D. Funk. Pulmonary oxidative stress is increased in COX-2 knockdown mice with mild pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline. PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23439. PMID: 21850273.

Seta F., Chung A.D., Turner P.V., Mewburn J.D., Yu Y. and C.D. Funk. Renal and cardiovascular characterization of COX-2 knockdown mice. Am J Physiol – Reg Integr Comp Physiol 2009 Jun;296(6):R1751-60. PMID: 19357295.

Seta F., Patil K., Bellner L., Mezentsev A., Kemp R., Dunn M.W. and M. Laniado-Schwartzman. Inhibition of VEGF expression and corneal neovascularization by siRNA targeting cytochrome P450 (CYP) 4B1. POLM 2007 Nov; 84(3-4):116-27. PMID: 17991614.

Seta F., Bellner L., Rizzani R., Dunn M.W., Abraham N., Gronert K. and M. Laniado-Schwartzman. Heme Oxygenase-2 (HO-2): a critical determinant for execution of an acute inflammatory and reparative response. American Journal of Pathology 2006 Nov;169(5):1612-23. PMID: 17071585.