Experimental Pathology of Atherosclerosis

Heart attack and many cases of ischemic stroke is the result of atherosclerosis; an extremely widespread disease that attacks arteries of humans all over the world. Our research group is devoted to finding new ways of preventing the development of dangerous atherosclerosis, and we focus on two key challenges that currently limit our ability to combat the disease.

The diagnostic challenge:

If persons at risk for developing future heart attacks could be identified, the impact of existing cholesterol-lowering and lifestyle intervention therapies could be increased substantially. Using human-sized animal models of atherosclerosis, created by genetic engineering in minipigs, we aim at developing and validating imaging tools that can monitor the presence and activity of atherosclerosis and potentially be implemented in humans.

The therapeutic challenge:

Even with optimal lipid lowering and other medical therapy, a sizeable fraction of patients will experience a clinical event caused by atherosclerosis. To find new targets for therapy, we conduct experiments with gene modified mice, viral gene transfer, and cell culture systems, and we use descriptive analysis of human artery specimens as a reality-check to support the relevance for human atherosclerosis.

We are recruiting new talent to the research group. Candidates interested in making a difference in atherosclerosis research are welcome to contact me for informal talks about ideas and possibilities.