The research of Sungjo Park, Ph.D., focuses on decoding the molecular mechanism and structural architecture of metabolism-associated cardiac proteins to obtain a deeper understanding of heart function and to translate this knowledge into clinical application.
Dr. Park's research is also focused on manufacturing engineered biomaterials to provide a valuable means for cardiac regenerative therapy. To achieve the research aims, Dr. Park employs a range of molecular biology tools and biophysical techniques including protein bioengineering, high-resolution atomic force microscopy, synchrotron radiation small angle X-ray scattering and computational molecular modeling.
- Structure and function of KATP channel. A macromolecular complex of adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium channel is a metabolic sensor contributing the integrated homeostatic mechanism in the heart. Dr. Park focuses on resolving the structure of KATP channel subunits to gain the insight into how the concerted involvement of energy-sensing modules contributes the channel activation or inactivation.
- Silkworm-based biomaterial production. Dr. Park investigates using silkworms (Bombyx mori) as a natural bioreactor to produce authentic and high fidelity heterologous proteins and engineered nanobiomaterials.
- Regulation of cardiac lipid metabolism. Dr. Park is interested in the catalytic regulatory mechanism of lipid in the heart to understand how the altered fatty acid metabolism is associated with metabolic cardiac dysfunction.
Significance to patient care
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world and is responsible for over 17 million deaths every year. Dr. Park hopes his research will provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanism in cardiac function and the production of novel engineered biomaterials. This research will facilitate therapeutic approaches to repair cardiac dysfunction and heart failure, ultimately leading to improved patient quality of life.