My lab is involved in two areas of research, one on the lens and the other on the heart.
The lens project examines the transport properties of normal and certain mutant lenses. The goal is to understand the coupling of ion transport to water fluxes, which circulate through the avascular lens to form an internal micro circulatory system. We are specifically interested in how reductions in ion transport might compromise the circulation and lead to age onset central cataracts.
The heart project is to study the mechanisms regulating the transmural gradient in Na/K pump activity, and the purpose of the gradient. Our hypothesis on mechanism is: a transmural autocrine angiotensin system, that responds to load, regulates Na/K pump activity. Our hypothesis on purpose is: the pump gradient exists to establish a transmural gradient in calcium handling and contractility, with the endocardium seeing the greatest load and having the highest contractility. Our studies test these hypotheses. Moreover, the autocrine angiotensin system is involved in both electrical and structural remodeling, which occur during heart failure. A better understanding of this system would therefore allow preventative measures that could avoid the negative consequences of remodeling.