microRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous non-protein-coding RNAs, comprising about 22 nucleotides. They regulate gene expression via RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISC), targeting them to mRNAs where they inhibit translation or direct destructive cleavage. Increasing evidence indicates the importance of miRNAs in the regulation of cardiac developmental and pathological processes. Our laboratory mainly focuses on understanding the possible roles of these miRNAs and the proteins that they regulate in heart disease such as cardiac infarction and endotoxin-cardiac injury. Another project we are interested in is investigation of cardioprotective effects of Hsp20 and its underlying mechanisms.
The long-term goal of our study is to develop the therapeutic targets/reagents for heart disease treatment. Our current approach is to use genetic mouse models and direct injection, with alterations in the expression levels of miRNAs to determine their physiological and pathophysiological significance in vivo.