Cardiovascular Disease

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Dr. Hennig's research is related to the effects of nutrients on biochemical and molecular mechanisms of vascular endothelial cell function, injury, and protection.  His studies are focused on the role of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the induction of inflammatory events in endothelial cells in relationship to the development of atherosclerosis.
Dr. Cassis has a long-standing research interest in the link between obesity and cardiovascular disease, which is the primary cause of death in the obese population.  She has established that coplanar PCB ligands of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which accumulate markedly in adipose tissue, increase adipocyte differentiation and proinflammatory gene expression.
Dr. Daugherty's research seeks to identify the mechanisms of angiotensin II (AngII)-induced abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) formation using an integrated approach of vascular and molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry.  Specifically, his research is focused on the hypothesis that AngII can initiate AAA formation through activation of angiotensin type 1 receptor regulating the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP)-urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) axis to promote medial macrophage accumulation in smooth muscle cells.  In addition, his studies involve the determination of the relative importance of the systemic versus local renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in the development of atherosclerosis.