Ma-Cai-Park Lab

  • Lab Members

About Dr. Jianjie Ma's Research

Dr. Ma’s research focuses on cell and molecular physiology, regenerative medicine, cancer biology, muscle and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, geriatric medicine and Alzheimer’s disease, and therapeutic development.

We generate and employ various animal models of human disease to explore the physiologic function of novel genes. We use CRISPR-gene editing and AAV-gene delivery to investigate the molecular function of a given gene. We build the state-of-the-art microscopic imaging tools to study the temporal and spatial aspects of gene function in vitro and in vivo.  We use histological and biochemical means to map the signaling components associated with human health and diseases. We also partner with pharmaceutical industry to advance the basic findings into therapeutic development to treat human diseases.

As the Director of the Division of Surgical Sciences (DOSS), Dr. Ma has the responsibility to foster the success of team-based research in the Department of Surgery. DOSS provides a platform that captures the enthusiasm of small ideas and a comfortable home for young surgeon-scientists to participate and to grow. Dr. Ma is also actively involved in mentoring of junior investigators and surgeon-scientists.

About Dr. Chuanxi Cai's Research

Heart failure and cancer are the top two leading causes of death in the United States. Meanwhile, heart failure is significantly associated with the incidence of cancer in the aging population. In the next 5-10 years, the research in my lab will focus on the delineation of the connections between heart disease and cancer via addressing the following two basic questions: (1) How does heart disease impact cancer? (2) What effects do cancers and cancer treatments have on cardiac structure and function? Upon understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the mutual impacts between heart disease and cancer, we expect to develop novel therapeutic approaches for preventing heart failure-induced cancer progression and metastasis, as well as promoting cardiac repair and recovery following the cancer treatment (e.g., chemotherapy) in patients.

Currently, Dr. Cai is focused on the biology of MG53/TRIM72 in human diseases with the following ongoing research projects: (1) Investigate the physiological role of MG53 and underlying mechanisms in tissue repair and inflammation in influenza virus-induced cardiopulmonary injuries; (2) Examine the mechanisms of in vivo controlling MG53 expression and the myokine function of MG53 in age-related heart failure and muscle disease; (3) Dissect the nuclear action of MG53 as a tumor suppressor in tumorigenesis.

In addition, Dr. Cai and his team recently discovered a novel cardiac specific long noncoding RNA Camirt, and we are elucidating the role and mechanisms of Camirt in modulating mitophagy in ischemic and age-related heart failure.

Lab Members

Jianjie Ma, Professor
Chuanxi Cai, Associate Professor
Ki Ho Park, Assistant Professor
Jongsoo Kim, Research Associate
Kyung Eun Lee, Research Associate
Xiao-Zhang Wang, Research Scientist
Xinyu Zhou, Assistant Professor