Jeffrey Saucerman Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia

Heart function and failure are controlled by complex signaling and transcriptional networks that are just beginning to be mapped out. My laboratory combines computational modeling and live-cell microscopy to identify these molecular networks and understand how they mediate cell decisions.

We are tackling a number of unexplained cellular decisions that are fundamental to the development of heart failure. For example, after myocardial infarction, what causes a given myocyte to choose enhanced contractility, growth, or death? Why do certain stresses cause myocyte lengthening, while other stresses increase myocyte thickness? Why are certain forms of heart growth reversible while others are irreversible? Answers to these basic science questions are being translated into novel strategies to re-engineer the failing heart.

Current Projects
1) Compartmentation of cAMP/PKA signaling for cellular multitasking
2) High-throughput imaging and modeling of the cardiac hypertrophy signaling network
3) Crosstalk between beta-adrenergic signaling, Ca2+-dependent pathways, and cardiac arrhythmia