I am the director of urology research at Boston Children's Hospital and a cell biologist and biochemist by training. Research in my laboratory focuses on studies investigating the molecular basis of hollow organ pathobiology, with a focus on tissue remodeling and alterations in smooth muscle physiology, but also with interests in tumor biology and cancer progression. The major areas of interest in my lab are: (1) characterization of mechanosensitive signaling networks and regulation/targeting of mechanosensitive transcriptional complexes including AP-1 and MYC in physiologically relevant models of urinary tract obstruction; (2) the elucidation of neuropilin 2-dependent signaling in smooth muscle contractility and relaxation in the urinary and gastrointestinal tracts, shown by us to be a novel function for this protein reported by our group in 2012, and the exploitation of this axis by pharmacological means to modulate smooth muscle contractility in the setting of urinary tract obstruction; (3) delineation of the mechanisms of action of the purine nucleoside inosine in mitigation of bladder overactivity following spinal cord injury, and optimization of strategies for its clinical use in patients; (4) investigation of mechanisms regulating receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in bladder cancer, and the role of the EGFR/c-Met regulator endophilin A1 in regulation of sensitivity to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Fundamental research into the organs comprising the lower urinary tract and the molecular basis of urologic disease, particularly non-malignant conditions, has lagged behind that in other major organ systems. Although this has negatively impacted the rapid development and application of research to enhancing patient care, this situation has resulted in unparalleled opportunities for investigators working in this field, and in turn to their students and trainees.
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