The primary experimental models used in my lab are the isolated perfused rat heart and mitochondria. We are very interested in sorting out how molecular changes within the heart affect its function under normal and stressful conditions.
A current focus is to study the interactions among exercise, statins, and aging. Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) were originally developed to lower cholesterol, but are now known to have far reaching effects independent of cholesterol. Both exercise and statin treatment can result in intrinsic adaptations that protect the heart against injury following a bout of ischemia. Studies are underway to investigate whether exercise and statins protect the heart by similar mechanisms and whether their combined effects are additive.