IMI Interdisciplinary Mathematics InstituteCollege of Arts and Sciences

A Promoting Regression of Atherosclerotic Plaques

  • Oct. 24, 2011
  • 1:30 p.m.
  • LeConte 312


Atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, is a process that cholesterol, cells and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form plaques. It is both a lipid deposit disease and a chronic inflammatory condition. The rupture of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques and the resulting thrombosis (blood clot) are the direct causes of heart attack and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 3 killers in the United States. The research projects in my laboratory are focused on developing strategies to promote the regression of atherosclerotic plaques through manipulating lipid metabolism and modulating arterial wall inflammation. On the lipid side, we are studying the structure-function relation of PCSK9, a protein which increases plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels by degrading LDL receptor, aiming to develop small molecule inhibitors for this protein. We recently discovered that an interaction between the prodomain and the C-terminal domain governs the secretion of PCSK9. On the inflammation side, we newly characterized a Chinese herb-derived single compound, Sparstolonin B, as a selective Toll-like receptor inhibitor. We are currently testing if this compound can attenuate atherogensis in mouse models. In my talk, I will first introduce some background knowledge about atherosclerosis; then briefly talk about a few projects currently going on in my lab. Lastly, I will discuss how mathematicians may be involved in atherosclerosis research.

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