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Dichek Cardiovascular Research Laboratory                 

David A. Dichek, MD | Professor and Associate Director for Research


Our projects share a common goal: to discover the mechanisms that cause vascular disease and to translate these discoveries into novel therapies that can prevent or reverse vascular disease.  There are 3 major projects:


  • Development of gene-transfer vectors capable of mediating long-term recombinant gene expression in blood vessels and use of these vectors to prevent or reverse atherosclerosis in arteries and vein grafts


  • Investigation of the role of the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)/plasminogen system in the development of atherosclerosis and plaque rupture; defining molecular mechanisms of plaque rupture.


  • Investigation of the role of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling in the development and prevention of vascular disease.



Cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis, is a leading cause of death and disability throughout the world.  During the past decades, medical therapy and life-style changes have decreased the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the “Western” world.  However, cardiovascular disease is far from being eliminated and is increasing in other parts of the world.  Targeted molecular interventions—that are based on a detailed understanding of the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases—hold great promise for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease. ​​​