Lilach O. Lerman, M.D., Ph.D., directs the Renovascular Disease Research Laboratory, which focuses on the development and application of techniques to study renal and cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology in animal models and in humans.
Specific areas of interest include renovascular disease, cardiorenal interactions, and the kidney and myocardial microcirculation. Dr. Lerman's team is engaged in short-term and long-term studies to establish mechanisms of renal and cardiac injury and adaptation to cardiovascular risk factors; the metabolic syndrome; obesity; and atherosclerosis, including vascular remodeling, inflammation, oxidative stress and fibrosis.
Research tools used include wet-lab methods, as well as sophisticated, high-resolution computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer-based modeling, and image analysis.
Disease mechanisms are often initially investigated in vivo using imaging and subsequently correlated with tissue alterations determined with ex-vivo imaging, molecular biology and cell culture techniques. Current therapeutic targets and interventions include regenerative medicine (stem cell-based therapy), injury reversibility by revascularization and novel drugs.
Dr. Lerman's research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association, among other organizations.
- Pathophysiology of renovascular disease, hypertension and cardiac adaptation
- Development and application of cell-based therapy for microvascular repair
- The effect of cardiovascular risk factors (such as early atherosclerosis, the metabolic syndrome and obesity) on microvascular function, remodeling, and adaptation to upstream coronary or renal artery stenosis
- Potential benefits of chronic supplementation with novel drugs (such as anti-inflammatory drugs and antioxidants) on the ischemic kidney and heart
- Development, interpretation and implementation of physiologic imaging and image analysis techniques using multi-detector CT and MRI
Significance to patient care
Understanding the mechanisms by which cardiovascular risk factors promote renal and cardiac injury — and subsequently developing adequate strategies for early identification, treatment and prevention of these effects — presents a major challenge for health care professionals.
Dr. Lerman's research may help advance the understanding of the vulnerability of the heart and kidney as target organs, and contribute toward development of strategies for preventing and managing these epidemic diseases.
- Novel Methodology Development Award, Mayo Clinic, 2010
- Associate Chair for Research, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, Mayo Clinic, 2009-present
- Chartered Member, Medical Imaging (MEDI) Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 2008-present
- American Society of Hypertension/Monarch Award, 2003
- Harry Goldblatt Award in Cardiovascular Research, Council for High Blood Pressure Research, American Heart Association, 2001