Francesca Seta, PhD

Assistant Professor, Medicine

Francesca Seta
617.358.7814
650 Albany St Evans Biomed Research Ctr

Biography

Francesca Seta, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Vascular Biology Section at the Boston University School of Medicine. Dr Seta’s laboratory studies the basic mechanisms of vascular diseases, with an emphasis on the biology of the vascular smooth muscle. Her current research seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of arterial stiffening and aortic aneurysms/dissections, two degenerative vascular conditions for which there are no therapies.
Hardening of elastic arteries is an age- and obesity-related maladaptive remodeling which occurs independently of atherosclerosis but comparably harmful to the cardiovascular system. Dr Seta identified the transcription factor Bcl11b, nearby a genetic locus with genome-wide association with increased arterial stiffness, as a crucial regulator of vascular smooth muscle contractile phenotype and arterial functional integrity. In addition, her ongoing projects focus on the role of the lysine deacetylase sirtuin-1, known as the “longevity” gene and a molecular target of caloric restriction, in vascular homeostasis. She demonstrated that sirtuin-1 genetic overexpression or pharmacological activation exerts beneficial anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the aortic wall, protecting against obesity-induced arterial stiffness and cardiac diastolic dysfunction. On the opposite, lack of sirtuin-1 in vascular smooth muscle cause aortic dissection in mice treated with angiotensin II. Current studies are examining the therapeutic potential of sirtuin-1 against aortic aneurysms in a mouse model of Marfan’s syndrome, a condition characterized by aortic enlargements at risk of rupture or dissection. Dr Seta’s laboratory employs state-of-the art in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro approaches, including high-resolution ultrasound echocardiography, radiotelemetry, high-fidelity pressure catheters and pressurized myography, to assess pulse wave velocity, the gold standard measure of arterial stiffness; active and passive properties of blood vessels; imaging and characterization of aortic aneurysms. The goal is to identify molecular targets to develop novel translational therapies that can prevent and treat dreadful vascular diseases.

Research interests: Arterial Stiffness, Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection, Cardiovascular Physiology, Cardiovascular Disease Related to Metabolic Syndrome, Hypertension, Oxidative Stress, Pulmonary Hypertension, Vascular Biology, and Vascular Diseases.

Other Positions

  • Member, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Boston University
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences

Education

  • New York Medical College, PhD
  • Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, MSc
  • Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, BS

Classes Taught

  • GMS MM730-A1
  • GMS NU756
  • GMSMM730

Publications

  • Published on 3/5/2019

    Shao D, Yao C, Kim MH, Fry J, Cohen RA, Costello CE, Matsui R, Seta F, McComb ME, Bachschmid MM. Improved mass spectrometry-based activity assay reveals oxidative and metabolic stress as sirtuin-1 regulators. Redox Biol. 2019 04; 22:101150. PMID: 30877853.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/17/2018

    Yu X, Turcotte R, Seta F, Zhang Y. Micromechanics of elastic lamellae: unravelling the role of structural inhomogeneity in multi-scale arterial mechanics. J R Soc Interface. 2018 10 17; 15(147). PMID: 30333250.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/20/2017

    Kohn JC, Azar J, Seta F, Reinhart-King CA. High-Fat, High-Sugar Diet-Induced Subendothelial Matrix Stiffening is Mitigated by Exercise. Cardiovasc Eng Technol. 2018 03; 9(1):84-93. PMID: 29159794.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/10/2017

    Oh YS, Berkowitz DE, Cohen RA, Figueroa CA, Harrison DG, Humphrey JD, Larson DF, Leopold JA, Mecham RP, Ruiz-Opazo N, Santhanam L, Seta F, Shyy JYJ, Sun Z, Tsao PS, Wagenseil JE, Galis ZS. A Special Report on the NHLBI Initiative to Study Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Arterial Stiffness and Its Association With Hypertension. Circ Res. 2017 11 10; 121(11):1216-1218. PMID: 29122942.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/1/2017

    Ravid K, Seta F, Center D, Waters G, Coleman D. Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research and Training: Initial Outcomes and Evolution of the Affinity Research Collaboratives Model. Acad Med. 2017 Oct; 92(10):1399-1405. PMID: 28445220.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/16/2017

    Shao D, Han J, Hou X, Fry J, Behring JB, Seta F, Long MT, Roy HK, Cohen RA, Matsui R, Bachschmid MM. Glutaredoxin-1 Deficiency Causes Fatty Liver and Dyslipidemia by Inhibiting Sirtuin-1. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2017 Aug 20; 27(6):313-327. PMID: 27958883.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/7/2017

    Hu P, Wu X, Khandelwal AR, Yu W, Xu Z, Chen L, Yang J, Weisbrod RM, Lee KSS, Seta F, Hammock BD, Cohen RA, Zeng C, Tong X. Endothelial Nox4-based NADPH oxidase regulates atherosclerosis via soluble epoxide hydrolase. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2017 06; 1863(6):1382-1391. PMID: 28185955.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/2/2017

    Grzegorzewska AP, Seta F, Han R, Czajka CA, Makino K, Stawski L, Isenberg JS, Browning JL, Trojanowska M. Dimethyl Fumarate ameliorates pulmonary arterial hypertension and lung fibrosis by targeting multiple pathways. Sci Rep. 2017 02 02; 7:41605. PMID: 28150703.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/11/2016

    Han J, Weisbrod RM, Shao D, Watanabe Y, Yin X, Bachschmid MM, Seta F, Janssen-Heininger YMW, Matsui R, Zang M, Hamburg NM, Cohen RA. The redox mechanism for vascular barrier dysfunction associated with metabolic disorders: Glutathionylation of Rac1 in endothelial cells. Redox Biol. 2016 Oct; 9:306-319. PMID: 27693992.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/9/2016

    Nicholson CJ, Seta F, Lee S, Morgan KG. MicroRNA-203 mimics age-related aortic smooth muscle dysfunction of cytoskeletal pathways. J Cell Mol Med. 2017 Jan; 21(1):81-95. PMID: 27502584.

    Read at: PubMed

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