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 the chromosome 9p21 locus, which is widely recognized as the most important heritable cardiovascular locus identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We seek to fully explain how this locus - which affects over 20% of the population - potentiates coronary disease, stroke and aneurysms, and does so independently of all classical risk factors. Our group pursues the goal of true ‘bench-to-bedside’ translation, and includes a basic genetics, molecular biology and mouse model team, as well as a translational Vascular Medicine team which performs early-phase clinical research. Ultimately, we seek to develop a platform of new therapies directed against atherosclerosis, which is now the leading killer worldwide.
News, Events, & Team Milestones
Publication in Nature
Experimental anticancer drug may tackle heart disease, too.
2018 Fondation Leducq award
Congratulations to the Leeper lab for receiving a 2018 Fondation Leducq award. This grant, led by Drs. Gary Owens and Gerard Pasterkamp, will use advanced genomics approaches to investigate the contribution of matrix producing cells to atherosclerotic vascular disease. Additional details about this exciting new collaboration can be found at http://plaqomics.com/.
Dr. Fukaya receives 2nd Place Jay D. Coffman Young Investigator Award
Congratulations to Dr. Eri Fukaya on receiving second place for the Jay D. Coffman Young Investigator Award at the Society for Vascular Medicine 29th Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago. This award is for Dr. Fukaya's project: Clinical and Genetic Determinants of Varicose Veins: A Prospective, Community-Based Prospective Study of ~500,000 Individuals
2018 AHA Transformational Project Award
Dr. Nicholas Leeper was awarded an AHA Transformational Project Award. Dr. Leeper will be working with Dr. Bryan Smith, Molecular Imaging to study “Macrophage-specific nanoparticles which we hope will home to the diseased blood vessel and promote the clearance of necrotic debris as a new method to treat atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease”.
2018 Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
Congratulations to Sophia Xiao, Leeper Lab Member, on receiving the 2018 Firestone Medal for her graduating thesis. The Firestone medal is prestigious honor awarded to the finest honors thesis in social science, science, and engineering.
American Heart Association 2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship
Congratulations to Dr. Ying Wang on receiving the American Heart Association's (AHA) Postdoctoral Fellowship. The fellowship will support Wang for one year while she continues her research on the role of CD47 in the accumulation of diseased smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis in the Leeper Lab.