Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the United States and other developed nations. Our mission is to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of heart and blood vessel diseases and to seek novel therapeutic strategies for treating those diseases. We employ modern technology in cellular and molecular biology and biochemistry and establish various heart disease models in vitro and in vivo. Our laboratory not only serves as a basic biomedicine cardiovascular research center but also provides a preclinical and clinical research platform for the education and training of medical students, residents, and fellows. Each year, we host visiting scientists and professors and train research fellows from other countries. We also participate in public biomedical education forums for patients and their families.
Our two major projects deal with heart failure and stem cell therapy. Our laboratory is a major research center for conducting translational studies using human and animal stem cells. We are studying the use of both immature and adult stem cells. We analyze the effects of various risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart failure on the growth, survival and differentiation of stem cells in culture and in heart failure models. We also study the use of stem cell transplantation into the heart as a treatment for damage caused by ischemia or infarction. Through collaboration with physicians involved in FDA-approved clinical trials, we are pursuing the potential for using adult human stem cells to treat patients with chronic heart failure.
See also on this site: Stem Cell Center
Yong-Jian Geng, MD, PhD, director; Dr. James T. Willerson, president, medical director, and director of Cardiology Research at Texas Heart Institute. Our research team includes basic scientists, graduate students, physicians, and administrative personnel. Yong-Jian Geng, MD, PhD
Geng YJ: Molecular signal transduction in vascular cell apoptosis. Cell Res. 2001; 11:253-64.
Geng YJ: Biologic effect and molecular regulation of vascular apoptosis in atherosclerosis. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2001; 3:234-42.
Geng YJ, Libby P: Progression of the Atheroma: A Struggle between Death and Procreation. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, Vascular Biology. 2002; 22(9):1370-1380.
Hardt SE, Geng YJ, Montagne O, Asai K, Hong C, Yang GP, Bishop SP, Kim SJ, Vatner DE, Seidman CE, Seidman JG, Homcy CJ, Vatner SF: Accelerated cardiomyopathy in mice with overexpression of cardiac G(s)alpha and a missense mutation in the alpha-myosin heavy chain. Circulation. 2002; 105:614-620.
Wang J, Geng YJ, Guo B, Klima T, Lal BN, Willerson JT, Casscells W: Near-infrared spectroscopic characterization of human advanced atherosclerotic plaques. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2002; 39:1305-1313.
De Nigris F, Lerman A, Ignarro LJ, Williams-Ignarro S, Sica V, Baker AH, Lerman LO, Geng YJ, Napoli C: Oxidation-sensitive mechanisms, vascular apoptosis and atherosclerosis. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2003; 9:351-359.
Perin EC, Dohmann HFR, Borojevic R, Silva SA, Sousa ALS, Mesquita CT, Rossi MID, Carvalho AC, Dutra HS, Dohmann HJF, Silva GV, Belem L, Vivacqua R, Rangel FOD, Esporcatte R, Geng YJ, Vaughn WK, Assad JAR, Mesquita ET, Willerson JT: Transendocardial, autologous bone marrow cell transplantation for severe, chronic ischemic heart failure. Circulation. 2003; 107:2294-2302.
Perin EC, Geng YJ, Willerson JT: Adult stem cell therapy in perspective. Circulation. 2003; 107:935-938.
Silva GV, Litovsky S, Assad JAR, Sousa ALS, Martin BR, Vela D, Coulter SC, Ling J, Ober J, Vaughn WK, Branco RVC, Oliveira ED, He R, Geng YJ, Willerson JT, Perin EC: Mesenchymal Stem Cells Differentiate into an Endothelial Phenotype, Enhance Vascular Density, and Improve Heart Function in a Canine Chronic Ischemia Model. Circulation. 2005; 111(2):150-6.
Madonna R, Rinaldi L, Rossi C, Geng YJ, De Caterina R: Prostacyclin improves transcoronary myocardial delivery of adipose tissue-derived stromal cells. Eur Heart J. 2006; 27(17):2054-61.
Geng,YJ, Yang YJ, Casscells WS, Willerson JT. Vascular stem cells: a new concept in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and interventions for coronary heart disease. Future Cardiology. 2006; 2(5)585-592.
He R., Guo DC, Estrera AL, Safi HJ, Huynh TT, Zhengnan Y, Cao S-N, Lin J, Kurian T, Buja ML, Geng YJ, Milewicz DM: Characterization of the inflammatory and apoptotic cells in the aortas of patients with ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surgery. 2006; 131(3):671-8.
Ahmed SS, Tan FK, Arnett FC, Jin L, Geng YJ: Induction of apoptosis and fibrillin 1 expression in human dermal endothelial cells by scleroderma sera containing anti-endothelial cell antibodies. Arthritis Rheum. 2006; 54(7):2250-2262.
Madonna R, Willerson JT, Geng YJ: Myocardin A enhances telomerase activities in adipose tissue mesenchymal cells and embryonic stem cells undergoing cardiovascular myogenic differentiation.
Stem Cells. 2008; 26(1):202-11.
Wassler MJ, Shur BD, Zhou W, Geng YJ: Characterization of a Novel Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzyme that Regulates beta1, 4-Galactosyltransferase-1 in Embryonic Stem Cells. Stem Cells. 2008; 26(8):2006-18.
Tamareille S, Achour H, Amirian J, Felli P, Bick RJ, Poindexter B, Geng YJ, Barry WH, Smalling RW: Left ventricular unloading before reperfusion reduces endothelin-1 release and calcium overload in porcine myocardial infarction. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2008; 136(2):343-51.
Yang YJ, Qian HY, Huang J, Geng YJ, Gao RL, Dou KF, Yang GS, Li JJ, Shen R, He ZX, Lu MJ, Zhao SH: Atorvastatin treatment improves survival and effects of implanted mesenchymal stem cells in post-infarct swine hearts. Eur Heart J. 2008; 29(12):1578-90.
Yu XY, Geng YJ, Li XH, Lin QX, Shan ZX, Lin SG, Song YH, Li Y: The effects of mesenchymal stem cells on c-kit up-regulation and cell-cycle re-entry of neonatal cardiomyocytes are mediated by activation of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor. Mol Cell Biochem. 2009; 332(1-2):25-32.
Madonna R, Geng YJ, De Caterina R: Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells. Characterization and Potential for Cardiovascular Repair. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2009 Jul 23.
Yang YJ, Qian HY, Huang J, Li JJ, Gao RL, Dou KF, Yang GS, Willerson JT, Geng YJ: Combined Therapy With Simvastatin and Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Increases Benefits in Infarcted Swine Hearts. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2009 Dec; 29(12):2076-2082.
Herbst SM, Klegerman ME, Kim H, Shelat H, Wassler M, Moody MR, Yang CM, Ge X, Zou Y, Kopechek JA, Clubb FJ, Kraemer DC, Huang S, Holland CK, McPherson DD, Geng YJ: Delivery of Stem Cells to Porcine Arterial Wall with Echogenic Liposomes Conjugated to Antibodies against CD34 and Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1. Mol Pharm. 2010; 7(1):3-11.
Zhou CC, Irani RA, Zhang Y, Blackwell SC, Mi T, Wen J, Shelat H, Geng YJ, Ramin SM, Kellems RE, Xia Y: Angiotensin receptor agonistic autoantibody-mediated tumor necrosis factor-alpha induction contributes to increased soluble endoglin production in preeclampsia. Circulation, 2010 Jan 26; 121(3):436-44.
Chillar A, So SP, Ruan CH, Shelat H, Geng YJ, Ruan KH: A profile of NSAID-targeted arachidonic acid metabolisms in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs): Implication of the negative effects of NSAIDs on heart tissue regeneration.
Int J Cardiol, 2010 May 6. [Epub ahead of print]
Yu XY, Geng YJ, Liang JL, Lin QX, Lin SG, Zhang S, Li Y: High levels of glucose induce apoptosis in cardiomyocyte via epigenetic regulation of the insulin-like growth factor receptor. Exp Cell Res, 2010 Jul 13. [Epub ahead of print]
Li Y, Qu J, Shelat H, Gao S, Wassler M, Geng YJ: Clusterin induces CXCR4 expression and migration of cardiac progenitor cells. Exp Cell Res, 2010 Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]
"Which Cell for Myogenesis and How to Characterize It? Focus on Stem Cells." presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in Feb. 2005 at 11th International Local Drug Delivery Meeting and Cardiovascular Course on Radiation & Molecular Strategies, Geneva Switzerland.
"What Is the Best Cell for Cardiovascular Therapy?" presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in Feb. 2005 at the Center of Excellence on Aging, University of Chieti Medical School, Chieti, Italy.
"Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Adult Adipose Tissue with the Potency of Myogenesis and Cardiovascular Tissue Repair" presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in Sep. 2005 at Annual European Society of Cardiology Congress, Stockholm, Sweden.
"Regulation of Cardiovascular Stem Cell Survival and Differentiation by Cholesterol-lowering Therapy" presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in June 2006 at The 11th International Vascular Neuroeffect and Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Medicine Symposia, The World Congress of Pharmacology, Suzhou, China.
"Protection of Cardiovascular Stem Cells by Cholesterol-lowerin Therapy" presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in June 2006 at Center for Cardiovascular Biology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
"Stem Cells from Cloned Pigs" presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in June 2008 at International Vascular biology Meeting, Sydney, Australia.
"Decompensated Acute Heart Failure: New Therapies" presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in Jan. 2009 at Cardiology Grand Rounds, University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
"What's new in cardiovascular regenerative medicine" presented by Dr. Yong-Jian Geng in June 2010 at World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions, Beijing, China.
Book and Book Chapters:
Geng YJ, Hansson GK: Cytokine-induced expression of nitric oxide synthase is inhibited by phorbol esters. In: The Biology of Nitric Oxide Vol. 4: Enzymology, Biochemistry and Immunology. Ed. By Monocada. S. and Higgs, A.E. Portland Press Ltd, Page 99-105, 1994.
Geng YJ, Yuan S: Mechanisms for the role of the heart in the pathogenesis of hypertension. In: Hypertension, Eds. Liu, et al. Beijing, China, 2001.
Geng YJ: Current Topics in Atherosclerosis Research. Ed. Geng YJ. Nova Science Publishers, New York, 2005.
Geng YJ: Understanding the basics of embryonic stem cells and cloning. In: A Guide to Cardiac Stem Cell Therapy. Eds. Perin E., Silva GV, and Willerson JT. 2006, pp.13-21.
Casscells SW, Lal BN, Madjid M, Tewatia T, Aboshady I, Geng YJ, Willerson JT: Thermal stabilization of vulnerable plaques. In: The vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque: Strategies for Diagnosis & Management. Blackwell Future Publishers, 2007, pp331-342.
Contact Information and Location
Stem Cell and Heart Failure Research Laboratories
Texas Heart Institute
Yong-Jian Geng, MD, PhD, director
PO Box 20345
Houston, TX 77225-0345