The research foundation of Alexey E. Alekseev, Ph.D., evolved from the concept that the failing heart is an engine out of fuel. In this regard, energy-sensing KATP channels were recognized as a peripheral bidirectional regulator of muscle energy expenditure, which may find implication in a range of energy imbalance conditions linked to heart failure, obesity and cold intolerance.
- Receptors and ion channels advancing cardiac adaptation to adrenergic stress. The discovery of novel, as well as the search for genetically defective, components of the energy circuitry is a research focus of Dr. Alekseev. These components can serve as either new therapeutic targets, or reliable markers for the development of specific disease mapping strategies.
- Energy communication and signaling in compartmentalized intracellular environment. The developed concept for energy communication between intracellular compartments allows for the recognition of the imbalance between the rates of energy production and its accessibility to utilization sites as a new risk factor of the locomotor muscle contractile deficiency in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Mechanisms of cardiac resistance to severe environmental challenges. Hibernating mammals endure cyclical seasonal changes of body temperature from 37oС to nearly freezing, and are capable of safeguarding cardiac functions under conditions that would be fatal to humans and other nonhibernating animals.
- Curriculum and course development. Dr. Alekseev mentors graduate students, residents and fellows in the field of ion channel physiology and holds teaching and examining privileges at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and has developed the following courses: "Tutorial in patch clamp methods" (1998-2008), "Basis of neuronal electrical excitability" (2007-2015) and "Principles in ion channel biology" (2000-present).
Significance to patient care
The research contributions of Dr. Alekseev focus on investigating the molecular cardioprotective mechanisms controlling cellular energy homeostasis. These mechanisms can provide a basis for rational prognosis, diagnosis and development of preventive therapies to restore energy metabolism (such as under obesity), mitigate cardiomyopathy and the progression of heart failure.
- Recipient, Gerstner Family Award, "Forecast of heart failure by energy network mapping," 2008-2010