Dorn Lab


Gerald W. Dorn, II, MD

Director, Center for Pharmacogenomics
Philip and Sima K. Needleman Professor of Medicine
Associate Chair for Translational Research

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Explore cellular, molecular, and genetic studies of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure in the Dorn Lab.

Heart failure is the single leading cause of hospitalization and death in the United States. Overt heart failure and the silent cardiac hypertrophy that frequently precedes it are both independent risk factors for death. Despite decades of work, there is still no cure for heart failure (even heart transplantation merely substitutes one disease for another), and current treatment consists largely of measures designed to retard disease progression and to improve the quality of life.

However, an explosion of experimental data and vastly improved understanding of the molecular basis for hypertrophy and heart failure point toward novel and more effective interventions through:

  • Interruption or modification of pathological cardiac signaling pathways
  • Prevention of cardiac myocyte programmed cell death or regeneration of new cardiac myocytes
  • Individualization of treatment regimes based upon genetic profile
  • PINK-Parkin signaling and mitochondrial quality control

The general theme of the Dorn laboratory revolves around how neurohormonal stimulation of the heart contributes to development of cardiac hypertrophy and its progression to heart failure. Our research team housed within the Department of Medicine’s Center for Pharmacogenomics has developed integrated cell and molecular biology platforms to address mechanistic questions relating to cardiomyocyte signaling in pathological cardiac hypertrophy and the transition of compensated hypertrophy to dilated cardiomyopathy/heart failure.

Our laboratory also emphasizes the use of genetically and physiologically manipulated mouse models to define the pathological relevance of altered signaling pathways within the integrated cardiovascular system. An extremely vibrant human genomics program employs new approaches for high throughput analysis of large cardiac cohorts and next generation sequencing technology to bridge the bench and bedside.

Ours is a scientifically and culturally diverse program comprised of talented students, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates. We emphasize scientific creativity and multidisciplinary collaborations within and between different laboratories. Students and postdoctoral fellows typically first engage in an ongoing study and use this as a platform to develop their own independent project, providing a strong foundation for scientific success.

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