Michael S. Parmacek
Director, Cardiovascular Institute
University of Pennsylvania
United States of America
Chair, Department of Medicine Director, Cardiovascular Institute
The Parmacek laboratory examines the molecular and genetic programs that regulate heart and vascular development with particular focus on defining the molecular programs regulating development, differentiation and survival of vascular smooth muscle cells and cardiac myocytes. The Parmacek laboratory utilizes a variety of experimental methodologies including the generation and characterization of genetically-engineered mouse and embryonic stem (ES) cell models to elucidate the function(s) of critical transcription factors and transcriptional co-activators in the cardiovascular system. The Parmacek laboratory cloned and/or characterized the function of the GATA-4/5/6 subfamily of cardiovascular transcription factors and the Myocardin/MKL-1/MKL-2 family of transcriptional coactivators. These data provided unanticipated insights into how cells populating the cardiovascular system transduce signals regulating development and response to hemodynamic stress. While fundamentally important at a basic level, this research has provided insights into the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysm and dissection, heart failure and congenital heart disease.