Thomas Jefferson University
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Department of Medicine

Research Activity


From Research to the Power to Cure

The Center for Translational Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University is primarily focused on bridging cutting-edge basic research with clinical medicine in order to more efficiently translate new discoveries at the bench to the realization of improved patient care.

Our center, which is at the forefront of academic medicine, creates a new culture of collaboration and cooperation, merging a world-class team of basic science investigators with Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital’s renowned physicians and clinical investigators.

The Center for Translational Medicine conducts broad and multi-focal research. Multiple labs are engaged in models of heart and vasculature disease. Our research focuses on the regulation and signaling of many molecules vital in the progression in heart muscle diseases utilizing novel genetically engineered mouse models or viral-mediated myocardial gene delivery. We also study cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular development in vertebrates (Astrof).

Our Current Areas of Interest

Mitochondria, Cellular Receptors, Kinases and Cell Adhesion Proteins

Diseases of the Vasculature Focus on the Role of Platelets, Proteases, Nuclear Receptors, and Reactive Oxygen Species Signaling in Human Diseases

Cellular & Molecular Mechanism of Cardiovascular Development in Vertebrates

Pulmonary research is another strength of the Center for Translational Medicine, fostered by collaboration with the Jane and Leonard Korman Lung Center. Understanding the pathogenesis of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and developing novel drugs for their treatment, is the focus of the Penn Lab and Deshpande lab. The Deshpande Lab also investigates the mechanisms by which lung function declines with aging. Fibrotic lung disease, and the role of obesity in asthma, are the focus of the Summer lab. The Chan lab explores novel means of manipulating Akt kinase activity as treatment for multiple lung diseases.

Targeting mechanisms affecting bone and cartilage metabolism, as a means of treating or preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, is the focus of the Wang lab.

Finally, our Center is also leading research in viral vector development and small animal models of disease.  The Small Animal Physiology Core is headed by Nadan Wang.

Funded Projects - Past & Present

Dr. Khadija Rafiq

Current Support

07/2013 - 06/2018
“Inflammatory proteases and Diabetic Cardiomyopathy”

The research proposed in this application will delineate the role of inflammatory proteases in mediating alterations in insulin/insulin growth factor-1 receptor signaling and determine their involvement in the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy

Completed Support

AHA 0730109N (PI)
01/2007 – 12/2010
“Role of Ubiquitin Proteasome System in Cardiac Myocytes Apoptosis Induced By Inflammatory Proteases”

The research proposed in this application aimed to delineate the role of ubiquitin proteasome system activation in cardiac myocyte death induced by inflammatory proteases.

Dr. Jin O-Uchi

Current Support

Beginning Grant-in-Aid, American Heart Association (AHA)
Role: PI
(01/2014 - 12/2015)
“Regulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter by adrenergic signaling in cardiomyocytes”

This project is to examine the molecular mechanisms underlying α1-adrenergic modulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ influx especially focusing on the tyrosine phosphorylation of mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter.

R01 HL093671 (Sheu, PI), NIH/NHLBI
Role: Co-I
“Ca2+ and ROS Crosstalk Signaling in Cardiac Mitochondria”

This project is to establish a unified theory to describe the mechanisms of crosstalk signaling between Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cardiac muscle cells, and to translate these signaling pathways to the physiology and pathology of cardiac excitation, contraction, and energy metabolism.

Completed Support

09POST231007, American Heart Association (AHA)
Role: PI
“Isoform-specific PKC modulation of IKs channel in Long QT syndrome”

Hiroshi and Aya Irisawa Memorial Promotion Award for Young Scientists, the Physiological Society of Japan
Role: PI
“Role of alpha1-adrenergic signaling in cardiac excitation-contraction coupling” 

Research Career Enhancement Award, American Physiological Society (APS)
Role: PI
“Single channel recording of mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter in lipid bilayers system”

This project is to establish the electrophysiological single channel recording of recombinant ion channel proteins especially newly identified mitochondrial ion channel named Mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) using lipid bilayers system collaborating with Prof. Hector Valdivia at University of Michigan.

Dr. Shey-Shing Sheu

Current Support

1R01HL122124, NIH/NHLBI
Role: Co- PI
“Mitochondria-SR Tethering: Its Role in Cardiac Bioenergetics and Ca2+ Dynamics”

We will apply interdisciplinary approaches to test the hypothesis that mitochondria and sarcoplasmic reticulum tethering via Mfn2 family proteins creates a micro-domain of high Ca2+ between these two organelles during excitation-contraction coupling. Moreover, mitochondria Ca2+ uniporters are clustered in the region of inner mitochondrial membrane that is in proximity with SR. Losses of this juxtaposition decrease excitation-bioenergetics coupling efficiency that leads to energy deficiency and oxidative stress and subsequent heart failure.

2R01HL093671, NIH/NHLBI
Role: PI
“Ca2+ and ROS Crosstalk Signaling in Cardiac Mitochondria”

This project is to establish a unified theory to describe the mechanisms of crosstalk signaling between Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cardiac muscle cells, and to translate these signaling pathways to the physiology and pathology of cardiac excitation, contraction, and energy metabolism.

1R01HL114760 (Wang, PI), NIH/NHLBI
Role: Co-I
“Mitochondrial Respiration and Superoxide Production in Healthy and Failing Heart”

There are three specific aims in this proposal:
1. Test the hypothesis that superoxide flash arises from the transient acceleration of mitochondrial respiration and is modulated by mitochondrial Ca2+, permeability transition pores and fission/fusion dynamics.

2. Test the hypothesis that pathological stress inhibits superoxide flash activity at an early stage of heart failure and prior to detection of overt signs of mitochondrial dysfunction.

3. Determine whether increased mitochondrial or cytosolic ROS contributes to oxidative stress during mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction.

Completed Support

R21 HL110371, NIH/NHLBI
Role: PI
(07/01/11 – 06/30/13)
“ADP: A Master Regulator for Bioenergetics and Ca2+/ROS Signaling in Heart”

5R01HL033333-17-2, NIH/NHLBI
Role: PI
(04/01/06 – 09/31/12) (no-cost extension)
“Mitochondrial Ca2+ Transport in Heart Cells”

Dr. Deepak A. Deshpande

Current Support

Deshpande Deepak (PI)
NIH/NIA (RO1 AG041265)
07/01/2012 – 06/30/2017
“Molecular basis of age-dependent changes in airway smooth muscle functions”

Deshpande Deepak (PI)
NIH/NHLBI (R01 HL104119)
05/01/2013 – 04/30/2015
“Novel mechanisms of smooth muscle Beta2-receptor regulation relevant to asthma”

Deshpande Deepak (PI)
American Asthma Foundation (AAF 13-0063)
07/01/2013 – 06/30/2016
“Anti-mitogenic effect of bitter taste receptor agonists on airway smooth muscle”

Completed Support

Deshpande Deepak (PI)
12/01/2006 – 11/30/2012
“Molecular Mechanism of airway smooth muscle relaxation” K99/R00, Pathway To Independence

CTM Seminar Series


October 19, 2015 - William Thomas Gerthoffer, Ph.D.

"MicroRNA based therapy of asthma and pulmonary hypertension"

November 19, 2015 - Jin Ouchi, M.D., Ph.D.

      "Molecular and functional regulation of mitochondrial calcium uptake"

December 3, 2015  - Xin L. Ma, Ph.D.

      "Adipocyte Endocrine Dysfunction and Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease"

December 17, 2015 – Glenn Radice, Ph.D.

January 21, 2016 – Jianxin Sun, Ph.D.

January 28, 2016 – Bin Wang, Ph.D.

      "Mechanism of parathyroid hormone effect on bone"

February 11, 2016 – Ross Summer, M.D.

      "Obesity primes the lung endothelium to injury"

March 10, 2016 – Sophie Astrof, Ph.D.

May 5, 2016 – Boopathi Ettickan, Ph.D.

May 19, 2016 – Bong Sook Jhun, Ph.D.