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Faculty Labs

YCVRC Faculty

  • Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and of Biomedical Engineering

    Dr. Fadi G. Akar, Ph.D. completed his doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and his post-doctoral training in molecular cardiology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Akar joined the Faculty in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in 2004, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2007 and Yale University School of Medicine in 2020. Dr. Akar's laboratory is dedicated to uncovering the mechanisms that promote arrhythmias in common structural heart diseases and to develop novel gene-based approaches to prevent these malignant arrhythmias.
  • Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology); Co-Director, Yale Cardiovascular Research Center (YCVRC)

    Research Interests
    • Aorta
    • Aortic Stenosis, Subvalvular
    • Cardiology
    • Cerebral Hemorrhage
    • Hypertension, Pulmonary
    • Pulmonary Fibrosis
    • Vascular Diseases
    • Developmental Biology
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Myofibroblasts
  • Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)

    Research Interests
    • Blood Platelets
    • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
    • Cardiology
    • Diabetes Mellitus
    • Metabolism
    Dr. Hwa received his medical degree (First Class Honors) from the University of Sydney, Australia. He completed his Residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Cardiology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia. He then pursued further studies in the Department of Molecular Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation during which time he completed his doctoral thesis through Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Hwa was then awarded a Howard Hughes Physician Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue studies at M.I.T in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, H. Gobind Khorana. He joined the faculty At Dartmouth (Pharmacology and Toxicology and Medicine) in 2000, and moved to Yale (Section of Cardiovascular Medicine) in 2009.
  • Associate Professor Term

    Research Interests
    • Endothelium, Vascular
    • Transplantation Immunology
    • Heart Transplantation
    I am a physician-scientist in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine. My research laboratory studies the role of endothelial cells, the cells that line blood vessels, in solid organ transplant rejection. In this endeavor, we have developed novel, patient-centered protocols heavily incorporating human biospecimens to increase the likelihood that findings derived from these assays will be clinically relevant.
  • Robert W Berliner Professor of Internal Medicine (Cardiology) and Professor of Genetics; Director, Cardiovascular Genetics Program; Director, Cardiovascular Module

    Research Interests
    • Cardiology
    • Genetics
    • Heart
    • Heart Defects, Congenital
    • Metabolic Syndrome
    • Lipid Metabolism Disorders
    • Hyperlactatemia
    My laboratory is engaged in system biology approaches to investigate cardiovascular diseases. We leverage modern techniques of functional genomics, epigenetics, transcriptomics,  proteomics,  gene editing and model-driven experimentation to understand the underlying causes of atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome and discover therapeutic targets. Our work involves population and family-based genetic studies, high throughput sequencing to identify disease genes, with a focus on coronary artery disease (CAD) and metabolic syndrome (MetS). We then proceed to characterize the identified genes in vivo and in vitro. By recruiting more than thousand kindreds with early onset CAD and multiple metabolic risk factors for genetics and metabolic studies we have been able to map, identify and characterize a dozen of human disease genes for CAD and MetS, which have been reported in leading journals such as  Nat Genet, Science, NEJM, Cell Metab, JCI, PNAS, AJHG, etc. We were the first group to show the role of Wnt signaling in atherosclerosis and the first to establish a genetic link between exocrine and endocrine pancreas in pathogenesis of diabetes. Most recently, we have established techniques of high throughput gene editing and multiple parallel reporter assays in my laboratory and have successfully mapped the regulatory landscape of a number of GWAS disease genes.  Subsequent molecular and physiological studies in human mutation carriers and animal models have allowed us to unravel novel functions of the identified genes, to delineate their cognate pathways and to discover new targets for pharmaceutical intervention. These groundbreaking achievements have made us one of the leading laboratories in investigation of metabolic syndrome. We have developed expertise in in vivo investigation of lipid and glucose metabolism, insulin secretion and sensitivity, and vascular biology and in human physiological studies, leading to discovery of attractive drug targets that have been either patented or being investigated for their utility in treatment of fatty liver disease and diabetes in 2 clinical trials in the outlier populations of Fars/Iran. One of our groundbreaking discoveries was the identification of founder mutations in the DYRK1B gene, underlying atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, and fatty liver disease. The encoded protein is upregulated in human steatosis (NASH). Our studies in mice have shown that this upregulation results in mTOR activation, lipogenesis and development of NASH and dyslipidemia. Strikingly, knockdown of Dyrk1b is protective against these traits, motivating further investigations to characterize the protein as an attractive therapeutic target. One of our recent groundbreaking discoveries was the identification of novel loss of function mutations in a gene encoding the pancreatic exocrine elastase Cela2a in patients with diabetes, CAD and MetS traits, including obesity, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, NAFLD (OMIM: AOMS4). The characterization of this protein in vivo has shown that it widely expressed in different tissues and circulates in the blood, its levels rise after food intake in humans and stimulates insulin secretion and sensitivity and inhibits platelet aggregation. We are now fully characterizing this protein and evaluating its utility as a drug target for diabetes, dyslipidemia, and fatty liver disease. These discoveries are the results of lengthy and high risk studies, which would have not been accomplished without the R35 grant mechanism and the hard work and devotion of students, residents , fellows and visiting scholars in my laboratory, many of whom have gone to establish their own labs, or join the industry. Alone 7 former lab members have joined academia over the past 5 years and 11 a pursuing a career in research as trainees.
  • Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) and Pharmacology; Co-Director, Yale Cardiovascular Research Center (YCVRC)

    Research Interests
    • Cardiology
    • Cardiovascular Diseases
    • Pharmacology
    • Vascular Diseases
    • Signal Transduction
    Kathleen Martin, PhD, graduated from Hiram College, where she majored in Biology. She earned her PhD from Case Western Reserve University in Physiology and Biophysics, then completed postdoctoral fellowships in cell biology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Martin joined the faculty of Dartmouth Medical School in 2000 in the Section of Vascular Surgery and Department of Pharmacology where she initiated her research program studying vascular smooth muscle cell biology in cardiovascular disease. In 2009, she became an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Yale before becoming a professor in 2019. She has held multiple leadership positions with the American Heart Association, has served as an NIH charter study section member, and currently serves as a co-director of the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center.Dr. Martin’s research lab aims to define the cellular signaling and epigenetic mechanisms that regualted vascular smooth muscle cell function in intimal hyperplasia, atherosclerosis, and transplant vasculopathy. Understanding how smooth muscle cells dramatically alter their phenotype may provide new insights for treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
  • Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and of Pathology; Section of Cardiovascular Medicine

    Research Interests
    • Animal Diseases
    • Cardiovascular Diseases
    • Heart
    • Pathology
    • Physiology
    • Stem Cells
    • Drugs, Investigational
    • Tissue Engineering
    • Regenerative Medicine
    • Embryonic Stem Cells
    • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
    Yibing Qyang obtained his B.S. degree from the Department of Biochemistry, Nanjing University, China and subsequently pursued a M.S. degree at the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He next joined the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. After receiving his Ph.D. degree, he was trained with Dr. Kenneth R. Chien at the University of California, San Diego and then the Cardiovascular Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In October 2008, Dr. Qyang became a principal investigator at the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center and Section of Cardiology, Dept. of Internal Medicine, and Yale Stem Cell Center. Since 2010, he has been the Director of the Yale Stem Cell Research Forum. The Qyang laboratory is interested in employing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), embryonic stem cells (ESCs), and tissue engineering to develop novel experimental models of human cardiovascular diseases for the purpose of elucidating causative mechanisms and identifying potential therapeutic interventions to treat these diseases.  Currently, the Qyang laboratory has the following members:1. Jinkyu Park, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, graduated from Seoul National University, South Korea in 2013. Dr. Park has won a Department of Defense Award ($334,994; 1/1/2020-12/31/2022)2. Muhammad Riaz, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, graduated from Erasmus University Medical-Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2012, and joined the lab 1/1/2017. 3. Xi Li, Ph.D.,  Associate Research Scientist, graduated from Harbin Medical University in China in 2014, and joined the lab 5/1/2022. 4. Shuai Gao, Ph.D.,  Postdoctoral Associate, graduated from Fudan University in China in 2021, and joined  the lab 2/1/2022. 5. Hangqi Luo, M.D., Ph.D., Postgraduate Associate, graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2022 and joined  the lab 6/1/2022.  6. Luke Batty, M.S., graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2017, and joined  the lab as a Yale graduate student since 4/1/2018. Luke has won the Yale University Gruber Science Fellowship in 2017 and an NIH F31 predoctoral fellowship (9/1/2019-8/31/2022).Previous Qyang lab members:1. Jiesi Luo, Ph.D. (graduated from Michigan State University, USA), postdoc training in Qyang lab (Dr. Luo won an AHA postdoctoral fellowship; 1/1/2019-1/1/2021), now Assistant Professor in School of Life Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, China. 2. Min Young Lee, D.V.M, Ph.D. (graduated from Chonnam National University, Korea), postdoc training in Qyang lab (2009-2012), now Assistant Professor in Department of Molecular Physiology, College of Pharmacy, Kyungpook National University , South Korea.3. Esra Cagavi Bozkulak, Ph.D. (graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, USA), postdoc training in Qyang lab (2010-2012), now Associate Professor in Istanbul Medipol University, Regenerative and Restorative Medical Research Center, Department of Medical Biology, School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey.4. Xin Ge, Ph.D., (graduated from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA), postdoc training in Qyang lab (2010-2013). Dr. Ge was awarded a Brown-Coxe postdoctoral fellowship ($50,000; 7/1/2011 – 6/31/2012). Dr. Ge is now an Assistant Professor in Shanghai Jiaotong University, China.5. Matthew Ellis, B.S., graduated from University of Washington, Seattle, in 2015, and joined  the lab as a Yale Ph.D. graduate student on 4/1/2017 (graduated 5/1/2022). Matthew won an NIH F31 predoctoral fellowship (9/1/2019-8/31/2021). 6. Christopher Anderson, B.S., graduated from University of St. Thomas in 2015 and also Johns Hopkins University in 2017. He joined the lab as a Yale Ph.D. graduate student on 6/1/2017 (graduated 5/1/2022). Chris won an NIH F31 predoctoral fellowship (9/1/2018-8/31/2021). 7. Ariana Wei, M.S., joined the lab (1/1/2022-5/31/2022) as a Yale M.S. graduate student for her thesis work. She is working as a Research Associate at Altos Labs. 8. Yan Huang, Ph.D.,  Associate Research Scientist, graduated from Hunan Medical University in China in 1998, and joined the lab (7/1/2018-4/31/2022). 9. Yongming Ren, Ph.D. (now a Senior Scientist at Vita Therapeutics, USA), graduated from Tsinghua University, China, in 2007. Dr. Ren was awarded a Connecticut Stem Cell grant ($200,000; 11/1/2012 – 10/30/2014). 10. Oscar Bartulos-Encinas, Ph.D. (now Senior Scientist at Pluriomics Biotechnology, The Netherlands), graduated from University of Madrid, Spain, in 2009. Dr. Bartulos was awarded a Connecticut Stem Cell grant ($200,000; 11/1/2013 – 10/30/2015). 11. Peter John Amos, Ph.D., (graduated from University of Virginia), postdoc training in Qyang lab (2010-2013), now an officer for Patents and Innovations in Life Sciences in Seattle. Dr. Amos was awarded a Connecticut Stem Cell grant ($200,000; 9/1/2011 – 6/30/2013) during his training in Qyang lab. 12. Colleen A. Lopez, Ph.D., Postdoc Fellows, graduated from University of Oxford in May 2019 and joined the lab in April 2019. She is now a Scientific Consultant for Clearview Healthcare Partners. Dr. Lopez was awarded an NIH T32 postdoc fellowship (4/1/2019 – 3/31/2021).13. Subhash K. Das, Ph.D., graduated from University of Alberta, Edmonton. Canada. January 2011 - May 2016, joined the lab in November 2016, and now is a scientist in University of Alberta. 14. Biraja Dash, Ph.D., graduated from Network of Excellence in Functional Biomaterials, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland in 2014, trained in Qyang lab (2013-2016), now is a scientist at Department of Surgery, Yale University.15. Zhengxin Jiang, Ph.D. (graduated from Baylor College of Medicine, USA), postdoc training in Qyang lab (2013-2015), now is the Director, Research & Development at Pregene Biotechnolgy.16. Ting Yi, Ph.D. (Postdoc), graduated from University of Vermont, USA in 2013, trained in Qyang lab (2013-2015), now working on Business Development at Rallybio. 17. Yuyao Lin, M.D., Ph.D. candidate from Xi'An Jiaotong University School of Medicine, China, joined the lab 10/1/2018-9/30/2020. Now Dr. Lin is a physician scientist at  Xi'An Jiaotong University. 18. Xiangyu Shi, M.D., Ph.D. candidate from Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, China, joined the lab 7/1/2018-8/31/2020. Now Dr. Shi is a physician scientist at Central South University. 19. Xia Li, M.D., visiting scholar from China, and now a research assistant at Yale (2015-2017).20. Carol Suh, graduate student who obtained a M.S. degree (2012-2014). She obtained her B.S. from Harvard University in 2011, and works as a Principal at the Biotech Venture Capital at ARCH Venture Partners.21. Hongwei Wu, M.D., visiting student who obtained Ph.D. degree (2011-2014). He was from The Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, China.22. Yan Xu, M.D., visiting scholar (2014) from The Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, China. 23. Xiaoqiang Cong, M.D., visiting scholar (2016-2017) from the First Hospital of Jilin University, China.24. Jessica Tuan, Master Student at Yale Biomedical Engineering (2011-2012), now a medical student at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.25. Caroline Greenberg, Summer Intern 2011, Medical Student in Yale School of Medicine. 26. Andre Alcon, Summer Intern 2011, Medical Student in Yale School of Medicine.27. Grant Senyei, Yale Undergraduate student (2008-2010), now a medical student at Northwestern University School of Medicine.28. Karen Xiao, Summer Intern 2012, undergraduate student at Georgetown University.29. Zelun Wang, undergraduate summer student 2013 from Rice University, now a MD/PhD student in Washington University Saint Louis.30. Nicole Boardman, Yale Junior Undergraduate Student trained in the Qyang lab (2016-2017) and now a medical student in Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Arizona. 31. Mengyan Liu, undergraduate summer student 2014 from University of New Haven.32. Hong Wu, Ph.D., visiting scholar from China (2014-2015). He is now a Professor,  Henan University.33. Jiahui Zhou, M.D., visiting scholar from China (2017-2018). He is now a physician at Guangdong General Hospital.
  • Professor

    Research Interests
    • Aneurysm
    • Aortic Aneurysm
    • Aortic Diseases
    • Aortic Valve
    • Aortic Valve Stenosis
    • Cardiovascular Diseases
    • Heart Diseases
    • Industry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Cardiomyopathies
    • Radioactive Tracers
    • Technology
    • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
    • Vascular Diseases
    • Molecular Probes
    • Peripheral Vascular Diseases
    • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures
    • Biomedical Technology
    • Early Diagnosis
    • Positron-Emission Tomography
    • Molecular Imaging
    • Optical Imaging
    • Diseases
    • Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment
    • Health Care
    • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography Computed Tomography
    Mehran M. Sadeghi, MD, studied medicine at Necker Enfants Malades School of Medicine and earned his medical degree from the University of Paris in 1991. Prior to establishing the Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Laboratory, Dr. Sadeghi completed his residency and fellowship training at Yale New Haven Hospital followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine.The goal of the Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Laboratory is to develop novel in vivo imaging approaches to visualize, characterize and quantify molecular and cellular processes involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases, and to address novel aspects of vascular and valvular biology. This is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary effort, involving the researchers with expertise in vascular and molecular biology, molecular imaging, medical physics and chemistry. The research focus is on vascular remodeling, fibrosis and inflammation, key features of atherosclerosis, aneurysm, cardiomyopathy, and calcific aortic valve disease.Dr. Sadeghi is a recipient of the Hermann Blumgart Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging and a past president of the Cardiovascular Council of the Society of Nuclear medicine and Molecular Imaging. He is a member of American College of Cardiology, Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, and the North American Vascular Biology Organization.
  • Robert W. Berliner Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Cell Biology

    Research Interests
    • Aneurysm
    • Cell Biology
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Vascular Malformations
    • Vascular Remodeling
    Martin Schwartz earned a BA in chemistry from New College in Sarasota FL and a PhD in physical chemistry from Stanford, where he worked in Harden McConnell’s lab on biophysics of phospholipid membranes.He then did postdoctoral research in biology at MIT in the laboratory of Richard Hynes where he studied interactions of fibronectin with cells and other proteins. He was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, Scripps Research Institute and the University of Virginia prior to moving to Yale in 2011. Starting in the 1980’s, his lab was among the first to report that integrin mediated adhesion could regulate signaling pathways in cells;that integrin-mediated adhesion promotes cell survival, that integrins synergize with growth factor receptors to activate growth signaling pathways and that integrins regulate Rho family GTPases. His lab has also elucidated mechanotransduction pathways by which endothelial cells respond to fluid shear stress to activate inflammatory pathways linked to atherosclerosis. His current research program combines studies using biophysical, cellular and animal approaches to important questions about integrin signaling, mechanotransduction and disease in the vascular system.
  • Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)

    Dr. Simons is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale School of Medicine. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at the New England Medical Center in Boston and cardiology training at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He completed a postdoctoral fellowships in molecular cardiology at National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda and in vascular biology at MIT. In 1993 he joined faculty at Harvard Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and rose through the ranks to become an Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of the Morse Coronary Care Unit and Director of Angiogenesis Research Center. In 2001 he was recruited to Dartmouth as AG Huber Professor of Medicine and Chief of Cardiology, subsequently becoming Director of Dartmouth Cardiovascular Center. Dr. Simons’ research focuses on biology of arterial vasculature and spans basic, translational and clinical areas of investigations. He led the first trials of therapeutic angiogenesis in the USA and his basic research discoveries have played an important role in moving the field forward. Dr. Simons has an extensive track record of NIH funding including multiple R01s and he has served as a Principal Investigator of the NHLBI SCOR program in endothelial biology. Recently, he has been awarded a Leducq Transatlantic network grant to build and lead the ARTEMIS arteriogenesis network composed of investigators in USA, UK, Belgium and France. Dr. Simons also leads an NHLBI PPG program focused on arteriogenessi. He has published over 270 research papers and reviews and has been elected to a number of honorary societies including Association of American Physicians, American Society of Clinical Investigations and Association of University Cardiologists. He also a Fellow of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Physiology.
  • Associate Professor of Medicine; Director of Heart Failure Research, Cardiovascular Medicine; Co-Director Heart & Vascular Center Clinical Research, Heart & Vascular Center

    Research Interests
    • Diuretics
    • Heart Failure
    • Kidney Diseases
    • Sodium
    • Cardio-Renal Syndrome
    My clinical training is as an advanced heart failure physician with formal research training in patient oriented translational research. My research program is supported by NIH and investigator-initiated industry sources and uses techniques of both translational and clinical research to further the mechanistic understanding of cardiac-renal interactions, fluid and sodium homeostasis, and diuretic resistance. The primary approach of my current research program is prospective mechanistic human studies in heart failure and kidney disease patients, for which we have established extensive infrastructure.  N My lab has extensive expertise in biomarker research has established and maintains an extensive bioassay resource with the capability to determine an extensive range of analytes in human biological samples with complexity ranging from simple serum chemistries to complex analytes such as ultra-trace lithium by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, deuterium concentration by IRMS, high dimension multiplex protein assays, and large and small molecules by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.
  • Professor

    Research Interests
    • Cell Differentiation
    • Stem Cells
    • Cell Proliferation
    • Neurogenesis
    Jean-Léon Thomas performed a PhD. in developmental biology with Pr. Nicole Le Douarin at Collège de France (Paris), and postgraduate studies on glial cell development with Bernard ZALC at INSERM, Salpêtrière Hospital (Paris). He was nominated Associate Professor at the University of Marne la Vallée in 1997 and Research Director at INSERM in 2005. Until 2010, he was heading a research group on ‘Oligodendrocyte development and Neurovascular interactions’ at the Research Center of the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute, Salpêtrière Hospital (Paris). JL THOMAS has an Associate Professor position at the Neurology Department of the Yale School of Medicine and is member of the Yale Stem Cell Center.
  • Assistant Professor

    Research Interests
    • Neurosciences
    • Computational Biology
    • Single-Cell Analysis
    • Machine Learning
    • Deep Learning
    Dr. David van Dijk is Assistant Professor at Yale Dept. of Internal Medicine and Yale Dept. of Computer Science where he leads a research group that focuses on the cutting-edge application of machine learning methods to big biomedical data. His group develops new algorithms for discovering hidden structure, signals, and patterns in complex high-dimensional and high-throughput data, including single-cell RNA sequencing, microbiome, medical imaging, and electronic health records. His research team comprises trainees from diverse backgrounds, including computer science, mathematics, physics, biology, medicine, and neuroscience. Dr. van Dijk completed his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam and the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he used machine learning to understand how gene regulation is encoded in DNA sequence. As a postdoc at Yale Genetics and Computer Science, he developed machine learning methods for single-cell data that are widely used in the biomedical community.Website: vandijklab.org