George J. Christ, PhD
George J. Christ, Ph.D., Professor
Dr. Christ received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Wake Forest University in 1987, and then did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pharmacology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in NYC. From 1989 until 2004 he was a faculty member at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, with appointments in the Departments of Urology, Physiology and Biophysics. SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST:
Dr. Christ has a broad interest in muscle physiology, intercellular communication and the role of smooth muscle in the function and dysfunction of visceral and vascular tissues. DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST:
Dr. Christ's research interests are in the area of Functional Genomics, that is, establishing a verifiable link between changes in gene expression and alterations in cell/organ/tissue function/dysfunction, and then using this information to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of smooth muscle diseases/disorders. To this end, Dr. Christ has developed a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes various visceral and vascular smooth muscle tissues/organs to attempt to establish "cause and effect" relationships between molecular/genetic alterations and measurable changes in organ function, namely, contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle cells. Animal vascular and visceral tissues are studied both in vitro and in vivo. Molecular, biochemical, electrophysiological, pharmacological, immunochemical, and whole animal techniques (rat and mouse transgenics and knockouts) are all used to study the mechanistic basis for integrative tissue physiology. Parallel in vitro studies are conducted on corresponding human tissues for target validation whenever possible.
The overall goal of his work is to translate scientific discoveries into technologies that can improve human health (i.e., translational research). In this regard, Dr. Christ is a co-inventor on more than 20 patents issued or applied for related to gene therapy treatments for smooth muscle disorders/diseases, and is the Co-Founder and Directing Member of Ion Channel Innovations, LLC., a development stage biotechnology company pioneering the use of gene therapy for the treatment of human smooth muscle disorders. Recently, Dr. Christ has also focused on the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In particular, he is interested in developing in vitro protocols and bioreactor systems for the accelerated maturation of engineered tissues; in order to further enhance their applications in regenerative medicine.