The Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Laboratory of Martin G. Rodriguez-Porcel, M.D., at Mayo Clinic focuses on the use of molecular imaging modalities to better understand the biology of cardiac stem cells for cardiovascular applications.

The goal of the Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Laboratory is to use monitoring strategies such as optical imaging, positron emission tomography and ultrasound to study cardio-renal pathophysiology and assess the efficacy of cardiac therapies. Dr. Rodriguez-Porcel and his research team use findings from the lab's biological studies to design improved therapeutic strategies for cardiovascular diseases.

Coronary heart disease

The Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Lab uses molecular imaging to noninvasively study the different biological pathways underlying coronary heart disease. This approach will lead to a better understanding of atherosclerotic disease and its consequences, while also contributing to a better assessment of different therapeutic strategies.

The team's goal is to develop new imaging methods for clinical translation and optimize those that already exist. The laboratory performs studies ranging from bench research to small and large animals studies, and gets them ready for clinical use.

Stem cell transplantation

One of the main research strategies in Dr. Rodriguez-Porcel's Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Lab focuses on the use of reporter gene technology, including work with luciferase-B, thymidine kinase-C and the sodium iodine symporter.

This research is aimed at understanding the biological mechanisms underlying survival, proliferation and biology of stem cells after transplantation, and how they interact with their microenvironment.

Polycystic kidney disease

The Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Lab has reported the importance of vascular dysfunction in polycystic kidney disease. Now, researchers in the lab are applying their vasculature expertise toward understanding the role of vascular dysfunction in the pathophysiology of polycystic kidney disease and developing new therapeutic targets for this disease.