Email: vnarayan@chori.org

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Apolipoprotein E in neurobiology of aging and cardiovascular disease

Dr. Narayanaswami’s research focuses on the structural and functional analysis of lipoproteins, specifically apolipoprotein E (apoE). ApoE is an anti-atherogenic protein, which is a key mediator of cholesterol homeostasis in the plasma and the brain. In the plasma, apoE plays a critical role as an anti-atherogenic apolipoprotein in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and regulates the transport of lipids and the dynamics of inter conversion of lipoproteins. My lab utilizes spectroscopic, biophysical and cell biology approaches to investigate the structure/function relationship in apoE in terms of its cholesterol and triglycerides transport role.

In the brain, apoE plays a role in cholesterol delivery to the neurons. However, it is also associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), an age-related neurodegenerative disorder, in which the polymorphic feature of apoE is directly relevant. ApoE exists as three different isoforms (apoE2, apoE3 and apoE4) with the allelic frequency of apoe2, apoe3 and apoe4 being 0.07, 0.78 and 0.15, respectively. ApoE4- bearing individuals are at a high risk for developing AD. Analogous to its role in the plasma, apoE functions as a mediator for cholesterol delivery to the neurons. Our laboratory examines the structural and functional basis of the role of apoE4 in the amyloid pathogenesis, a characteristic feature in AD involving misfolded amyloid beta peptide.

Dr. Narayanaswami is the director for the basic sciences program of the CHORI Summer Student Research Program. Along with Dr. Barbara Staggers, the director for the clinical sciences aspect of the program, she actively participates in stimulating students’ interest in research and in enhancing exposure to minority health and health disparity issues. Dr. Narayanaswami and Dr. Bertram Lubin are the PIs on the NIH funded summer research program, the main goal of which is to increase diversity in the basic and clinical sciences and to provide opportunities to underrepresented groups to participate in research in NHLBI mission areas.  The program invites undergraduate, medical and health professional students and graduate students interested in pursuing a career in basic, clinical and community-based biomedical research by offering short-term mentored research opportunities



Revised: Friday, August 3, 2012 2:43 PM

 

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