Predicting Heart Disease in Humans

Common forms of heart failure, which affect millions of Americans and are a major cause of morbidity and healthcare expense worldwide, have an unexplained heritable component. We are investigating features of the epigenome, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and chromatin binding proteins, that may serve as predictors of altered susceptibility to heart failure in humans. (Image: cardiac epigenome integrating protein occupancy with disease-induced changes; H. Chen, S. Franklin and E. Monte, Vondriska Lab) 


Discovering and Operationalizing Novel Therapeutic Targets

We use proteomics and genomics in animal models to discover novel chromatin regulatory proteins and mechanistically dissect their actions to control gene expression in the setting of cardiac development and cardiovascular disease. These studies are aimed to reveal new therapeutic targets for heart disease. (Image: histology of diseased mouse heart after loss of chromatin remodeling protein; S. Franklin and T. Kimball, Vondriska Lab)

Understanding Basic Principles of Chromatin Biology

What the interphase genome looks like in vivo is unknown. We are combining genomics and computational biology with super resolution imaging to investigate properties of genomic structure in cardiovascular cells. The goal is to understand the intermediate structural elements of the genome, between the scale of nucleosomes and chromosomes, which may serve as functional units underlying phenotypic plasticity. These studies investigate fundamental questions with the potential for impact across disciplines of biology and medicine. (Image: cardiac nucleus, specific genes decorated by F.I.S.H.; E. Karbassi and M. Rosa-Garrido, Vondriska Lab)