Atherosclerosis, ageing, cardiovascular pathologies, cellular senescence
I am a molecular biologist working in the field of cardiovascular diseases.
My research interest is around Atherosclerosis- a progressive disease of arteries in which the arterial walls are clogged due to accumulation of fatty substances termed as plaques. Atherosclerosis often goes unnoticed and is the major cause of heart attacks and strokes. I study the role of specific cell type, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in the advancement and severity of this disease.
Vascular smooth muscle cells are the major cell type present in the middle layer of the arteries and are critical for the maintenance of the integrity of the arterial wall. Studies show that VSMCs are the prime cell type within the atherosclerotic plaque and contribute towards the formation and development of the plaques. Vascular smooth muscle cells of the plaque exhibit different type of DNA damage and progressive DNA damage can result in premature cell senescence where cells stop to divide but remain metabolically active. These senescent VSMCs increase plaque instability. I am trying to understand how senescence in these cells contribute towards atherosclerosis development by using primary cells isolated from human and mouse aorta along with genetically manipulated mouse models. I am also trying to identify and validate novel biomarkers for early detection of senescent VSMCs and explore if removal of senescent VSMCs can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.