AVB Postdoctoral Program: Representative Example of Postdoctoral Training in Cell and Molecular Biology
Role of the Scavenger Receptor in Atherosclerosis
Preceptors: Dr. Chu-Huang (Mendel) Chen in collaboration with Dr. Lawrence Chan, Dr. Christie Ballantyne
Scavenger receptors for modified lipoproteins are expressed at high levels in atherosclerotic lesions. These receptors generate lipid laden cells in vitro that mimic the foam cells seen in the lesion. Further understanding of the structure and function of the scavenger receptor family is needed to assess the role of these proteins in atherogenesis. Trainees are able to choose among a number of projects in this area. Included are transgenic overexpression and knockout in both mice and rabbits followed by studies to determine the effect on susceptibility to lipid deposition in the artery wall following dietary manipulation and effects on lipoprotein profile and metabolism. Trainees could also become involved in studies of the overexpression of scavenger receptors in baculovirus or other expression systems to provide sufficient material for them to use in biophysical studies of receptor structure including cryo-electron microscopy. Training is also available in examining the role of the receptor as an adhesion molecule based on recent literature reports. Opportunity is also available to explore the use of antisense reagents to control expression of the scavenger receptors in vitro and in vivo. Finally, the trainees could choose to become involved in cloning of the endothelial scavenger receptor which appears to be functionally identical to the macrophage and smooth muscle receptor but biochemically distinct. Trainees attend the weekly seminars in the AVB Program and the seminar series in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department dealing with molecular biology and gene therapy topics. Trainees, depending on their background, are encouraged to audit Genetic Engineering (Cell Biol 320-439J), Cellular Molecular Biology of Disease (Cell Biol 320-423 A,B,C), Cellular Signaling (Cell Biol 320-425), Core Course in Cell and Molecular Biology of Cardiovascular Systems (Cardiovasc Sci 465-410,411,412), and Regulation of Gene Expression (Biochemistry 310-436J).