Michael T. Chin, MD, PhD
Dr. Chin is interested broadly in the molecular basis of cardiovascular disease, with specific interests in cardiovascular development, cardiac hypertrophy and vascular smooth muscle biology. He has previously identified a bHLH transcription factor, CHF1/Hey2, that regulates the development of the myocardium, atrioventricular valves and interventricular septum. In addition, he has found that this transcription factor controls the development of occlusive vascular lesions after vascular injury and that it can suppress the development of pathological hypertrophy and heart failure. The fundamental question that his lab wishes to address is how this single transcription factor controls the responsiveness of the cell to a variety of developmental and pathologic stimuli. Ongoing projects include: 1. generation of mice conditionally lacking CHF1/Hey2 in the endothelium, smooth muscle and myocardial cells to determine how each of these cell types contributes to the knockout phenotype; 2. assessment of existing CHF1/Hey2 knockout and transgenic mice in established models of vascular injury, cardiac hypertrophy and ischemia-reperfusion; and 3. isolation and characterization of primary cardiac myocyte, vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells from these mice for in vitro assessment of cell function and molecular phenotype through a variety of genomic and molecular biological approaches. These in vitro cellular assays are also being used to test the ability of small molecules to rescue aspects of the CHF1/Hey2 null phenotype. These ongoing studies should further our understanding of the molecular basis of cardiovascular disease and will provide an opportunity to translate basic scientific findings into advanced therapy for heart and vascular diseases.