The Leeper laboratory studies the vascular biology of atherosclerosis and aneurysm disease. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms that mediate vascular disease, and developing new translational therapies directed against them. Our group uses a combination of hypothesis-free genetic approaches, favoring the concept that insights generated in this manner are likely to have relevance to human disease. Currently, our major focus is on a process known as ‘programmed cell removal’, or ‘efferocytosis’ (Latin: to carry the dead to the grave’). We seek to determine why diseased cells accumulate in the atherosclerotic plaque, and how to harness the power of the immune system as a means to reactivate their removal and stabilize the vulnerable lesion. Our group pursues the goal of true ‘bench-to-bedside’ translation, bringing together interdisciplinary experts spanning the fields of genomics, molecular biology, translational vascular biology, and clinical Vascular Medicine. Ultimately, we seek to train the next generation of investigators and physician-scientists who will develop a platform of new therapies directed against atherosclerosis, which is now the leading killer worldwide.
"Good vascular health is the key to longevity"
Watch Elsie Ross, MD Vascular Surgeon and Eri Fukaya, MD Vascular Medicine Specialist, discuss the importance of vascular health and how to protect your vascular system.
News, Events, and Team Milestones
Publication in Nature Nanotechnology
Trojan horse nanoparticles deliver anti-atherosclerotic therapy specifically to the diseased blood vessel
February Heart Health Month
Dr. Nick Leeper is interviewed by HuffPost for a Heart Health Month article on "7 Types of Chest Pain You Should Never Ignore". Dr. Leeper explains the type of chest pain physicians are most concerned. Read the full article here.
The New England Journal of Medicine
Congratulations to the Leeper lab and colleagues for publishing in the NEJM the first human evidence that promoting “efferocytosis” (the phagocytic removal of diseased and dying cells) may have a beneficial effect on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.