Eric C. Svensson, MD, PhD
Photo: Eric C. Svensson
Elected 2009
Dr. Svensson’s research interest is to further our understanding of the transcriptional regulation of cardiac development with the expectation that this will lead to an improved understanding of the molecular basis of congenital heart disease. Further, elucidation of the transcriptional regulation of heart formation may also suggest potential strategies to repair a heart damaged by a myocardial infarction and lead to novel insights into the origins of cardiac stem cells. Many genes have now been identified that play a role in the transcriptional regulation of heart development. Dr. Svensson’s research has focused on FOG-2, a transcriptional co-factor which when mutated results in congenital heart disease in both humans and mice. In most contexts, FOG-2 functions as a transcriptional co-repressor. Dr. Svensson has demonstrated that FOG-2 interacts with the NuRD chromatin-remodeling complex to mediate this transcriptional repression. Current work in the lab is directed toward elucidating the importance of FOG-2-NuRD interaction for cardiac development. Dr. Svensson has also recently identified a microRNA that controls FOG-2 expression at the translational level. This microRNA is highly expressed in the embryonic heart and ongoing work is directed toward elucidating its role in the regulation of cardiac development. Together, these efforts will begin to identify the regulatory network underlying the complex process of heart development and may lead to new insights into the molecular basis of congenital heart disease.