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Kathleen Martin, PhD

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Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) and Pharmacology


Co-Director, Yale Cardiovascular Research Center (YCVRC)



Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) and Pharmacology

Co-Director, Yale Cardiovascular Research Center (YCVRC)


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, 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 regulated 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.


Education & Training

Post-doctoral Fellowship
Harvard Medical School (2000)
Post-doctoral Fellowship
Harvard Medical School (1998)
Case Western Reserve Univ (1997)
Hiram College (1990)



Brief Research Summary

Our studies are aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype. Mature SMC retain the ability to de-differentiate and re-enter the cell cycle. This is essential for such processes as angiogenesis, but also contributes to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, intimal hyperplasia, and restenosis.

Regulation of Vascular Smooth Muscle Phenotype: Rapamycin-eluting stents have revolutionized treatment of coronary artery disease, dramatically reducing restenosis. While highly efficacious in this localized drug delivery setting, systemic high dose rapamycin is not a viable strategy for other vascular diseases due to adverse effects. Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms by which rapamycin beneficially affects SMC phenotype, in order to develop novel therapeutics. Identifying the smooth muscle-specific targets of the mTOR pathway may generate new therapeutic strategies for treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis and intimal hyperplasia.

Epigenetic regulation: We have discovered that the mTOR pathway promotes VSMC differentiation through regulation of the DNA modifying enzyme TET2. We have identified TET2 as a novel master epigenetic regulator of VSMC phenotype. Notably, TET2 promotes changes in chromatin that lead to expression of prodifferentiation genes including SRF and myocardin and contractile genes such as SM-MHC and SM-alpha actin, while concomitantly downregulating expression of de-differentiation-associated genes including KFL4. We are currently employing genome-wide epigenetic methods to investigate mechanisms by which TET2, histone acetyltransferases, and other epigenetic regulators coordinately remodel chromatin to allow for VSMC plasticity.

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Cardiology; Cardiovascular Diseases; Pharmacology; Signal Transduction; Vascular Diseases

Research at a Glance

Yale Co-Authors

Frequent collaborators of Kathleen Martin's published research.






Academic Achievements and Community Involvement

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    Vice Chair

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    Alexander W. Clowes Distinguished Lecturer

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    Committee Member

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Get In Touch


Academic Office Number
Lab Number
Office Fax Number
Mailing Address

Cardiovascular Medicine

Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, PO Box 208017

New Haven, CT 06520-8017

United States