Richard Z. Lin, M.D.
Professor of Medicine

An estimated 4.8 million Americans suffer from heart failure, and more than 400,000 people die of this disease each year. Despite advances in the treatment of heart failure, this illness is a progressive disease with a high mortality rate. Clinical and animal studies suggest that activation of G alpha q by G protein-coupled receptors plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. My laboratory investigates the signaling pathways that control cell growth and survival, and how alterations in these pathways lead to cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. Recently, our focus is on how Gq-coupled receptors and G alpha q regulate the phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase signaling pathway. We are also interested in how the lipid second messenger produced by PI 3-kinase activates two downstream effectors, Akt and p70 S6 kinase. These signaling molecules regulate important physiologic functions such as apoptosis and protein synthesis. My laboratory employs biochemical and molecular techniques in conjunction with physiological studies in transgenic mouse models of heart failure. Understanding how these signaling molecules are regulated during heart failure may lead to the development of new treatments for this deadly disease.