Research Areas

The Andres Lab recently found that postinfarction-mediated adverse cardiac remodeling is markedly attenuated in wild-type C57BL/6 mice given a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist. Shown above are the results from ingenuity pathway analysis highlighting differences in fatty acid metabolism, autophagy and fibrosis from a cohort of mice where hearts were harvested and proteomics analysis performed three days after infraction and drug treatment. GLP1Ra limits fibrosis, stimulates autophagy and supports fatty acid metabolism.

Maladaptive Proteomic Signaling in Aortic Aneurysm and Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGFβ) Vasculopathies


Aortic aneurysm is a common clinical manifestation of several TGFβ vasculopathies including Marfan and Loeys-Dietz syndromes. This prevalent condition is defined by excessive aortic growth and medial wall remodeling that can result in lethal dissection and rupture. Few effective pharmacological treatments exist for aneurysm, largely due to an incomplete understanding of the disease mechanism. Preliminary in vitro and in vivo data indicate that blockading the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) using losartan potently inhibits aneurysm progression in mouse models. While the effective dose in mice exceeds the approved dose for treatment of children and adolescents, these promising animal results may provide proteomic clues that reveal mechanistic and potentially therapeutic targets. Research in the Van Eyk Laboratory aims to delineate the proteomic signatures of losartan therapy, downstream of AT1R in mouse vascular smooth muscle cells, resulting in a protective phenotype. Our goal is to identify signaling pathways and intermediates that serve as additional candidate therapeutic targets.

Proteomics in Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy for Heart Failure


Cyclic-guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling is increasingly recognized as playing an important role in heart failure. The Van Eyk Lab works to better understand both pathophysiological signaling in heart failure and mechanistic signaling of cardiac resynchronization therapy. Ron Holewinski, PhD, was part of the team of researchers headed by David Kass, MD, at Johns Hopkins University that showed that cGMP arising from either nitric oxide or natriuretic peptide pathways is hydrolyzed by specific phosphodiesterases. This team also showed that the therapeutic effects of cardiac resynchronization therapy might be mediated by a reactivation of glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta.

Protein Citrullination in Cardiac, Neurodegenerative and Autoimmune Diseases


The Van Eyk Laboratory is interested in protein deimination (citrullination) and the role that this process plays in heart diseases including ischemic, dilated cardiomyopathy. This form of posttranslational protein modification creates novel epitopes on common proteins, providing "neoantigens" that are now known to be important in autoimmune disease. This research is a major focus of Justyna Fert-Bober, PhD, who hypothesizes that citrullination plays a key role in the molecular mechanism that drives heart disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, which, together with many other important autoimmune diseases, disproportionately affects women. Other citrullination events involve the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury, and contribute to protein degradation and neurodegeneration. In this sense, citrullinated proteins may facilitate the discovery of new biomarkers that could improve diagnostic and prognostic standards in clinical use.

Biomarker Discovery and Validation — The WISE Study


The Van Eyk Laboratory will play a role in the Women's Ischemic Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study. This landmark study, led by C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, seeks new insights into those factors that distinguish heart disease in women, in an effort to inform standards of care and ultimately improve outcomes. The Van Eyk Lab is looking to bring our expertise to bear on several aspects within this larger study. Specifically, our ability to perform ultrasensitive assays for cardiac troponin, among other biomolecules, while simultaneously studying its disease-specific variants, will endow the WISE study with additional biochemical parameters with which to distinguish and potentially diagnose ischemic heart disease in women for whom no sufficient tests currently exist.

Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences — Glycobiology


The biological roles of glycans are often overlooked, but their fundamental importance is underscored by the fact that complex and dense surface glycosylation is a universal feature of all living cells. Glycans attached to proteins are not decorative; they contribute to proper protein function. Extracellular glycans can modulate receptor sensitivity and protein configuration, while intracellular O-GlcNAcylation is a dynamic posttranslational modification involved in signaling. It is in these contexts that the Van Eyk Lab — as part of the glycoconjugates and cardiovascular disease branch within the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences — is interested in glycobiology.

Contact the Van Eyk Lab

127 S. San Vicente Blvd.
Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, 9th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90048