The primary research goal of Tongrong He, M.D., Ph.D., is to understand the mechanisms underlying vascular injury and repair and to develop novel approaches for treatment of vascular diseases. Dr. He's research interest is focused on the role of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases and therapeutic application of EPCs in vascular injury.
Dr. He is specifically interested in molecular mechanisms of the regenerative function of EPCs, and how aging and diabetes mellitus affect the capacity of EPCs to repair vascular injury. In addition, her research focuses on the roles of cerebral vascular impairment in the cognitive dysfunction during diabetes mellitus and potential therapeutic value of EPCs in vascular dementia.
- Identifying molecules and pathways responsible for angiogenic function of EPCs and the ability of EPCs to repair injured endothelium
- Understanding how aging and diabetes affect regenerative capacity of circulating EPCs
- Determining the protective effect of cerebral microvasculature in the central nervous system
- Defining mechanisms involved in the impairment of cerebral microvessel damage during type 1 diabetes and how hyperglycemia affects cognitive function
- Developing cell-based approaches to improve neurovascular function
Significance to patient care
Vascular disease is a high-prevalence complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. It is also increasingly recognized that diabetes mellitus-related cognitive dysfunction is associated with cerebral vascular damage. It is important to understand that brain vasculatures could be a therapeutic target for improvement of brain cognitive function. Dr. He's research is aimed at developing novel therapeutic strategies that target cerebral microvascular defects in subjects with diabetes mellitus.
- Scientist Development Grant, American Heart Association, 2009-2012
- Duane K. Rorie Award, Mayo Clinic, 2004