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. 


Heart Health

"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

Sharika Bamezai received the SVS Foundation Vascular Research Initiatives Conference (VRIC) Trainee Award

Sharika Bamezai received the SVS Found- ation Vascular Research Initiatives Conference (VRIC) Trainee Award for her abstract “Safety And Efficacy Of Pro-efferocytic Nanoparticles To Treat Atherosclerosis In A Porcine Model”.  Her abstract was one of the top-scoring for the VRIC program.

Dr. Fukaya receives the 2023 AVF-BSCI Translational Research Grant

Dr. Fukaya was awarded the 2023 AVF-BSCI Translational Research Grant from the American Venous Forum for the project titled “ Elucidating the Pathogenesis of Varicose Veins Using Stem Cells” at the annual meeting on 2/25/2023.