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Heng-Jie Cheng, MD, PhD

HJ Cheng
Heng-Jie Cheng, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Cheng received his MD at Harbin Medical University, China; and his PhD in cell/molecular biology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, Michigan. He received a fellowship from NIH in Pathobiology of Vascular Disease; and research grant awards from AHA National Scientist Development; American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR); and Alcohol Beverage Medical Research Foundation (ABMRF). Dr. Cheng joined the faculty of Internal Medicine in 2004; worked as an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine since 2007; and in July, 2014 joined the faculty of Regenerative Medicine as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Cheng served as an AFAR’s National Scientific Advisory Council (NSAC) member; a mentor for Mini-Fellowship in Research; and an Honorary Professor of Harbin Medical University.

SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST: Dr. Cheng’s research focuses on the studies of the role and signal transduction of neuro-hormone regulations and oxidative stress on myocyte apoptosis in heart failure, alcoholic and diabetic cardiomyopathy, and cardiac aging; also on the isolation, culturing and characterization of cardiomyocytes for developing new approaches to cell therapy and tissue repair.

DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST: Despite the striking advances in medical and surgical therapy, the morbidity, mortality, and economic burden of heart failure (HF) remain unacceptably high. Dr. Cheng has long interest in the determinants of cardiac performance, and the mechanisms and treatment of HF. He has established several novel techniques to simultaneously examining intact animals, isolated cardiomyocytes, and intracellular molecular mechanisms in the several animal models of human diseases. A wide variety of molecular and cellular biological techniques are used. Dr. Cheng’s research focuses on four areas: 1) Functional response to neurohormonal activation in congestive heart failure; 2) The cardiac, cellular, molecular, and neurohormonal mechanisms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy and cardiac aging; 3) Alteration in Beta-3 adrenergic receptor expression before and after HF: a potential mechanism of HF; and 4) Mechanism of exercise intolerance in HF. Dr. Cheng established cardiomyocyte-based model system (intact freshly isolated LV myocytes) provides a unique tool that allows for simultaneous measurement of cell contractile, [Ca2+]i transient, and ICa,L responses, assessment of β-AR-mediated signaling mechanisms, and determination of molecular alterations in myocytes for correlative analysis and exposure of cardiovascular disease-induced intrinsic changes of myocytes. These methods also are applied to characterize pharmacological and physiological properties of engineered cardiac tissues in vitro and in vivo, with the purpose of identifying new targets to pharmacologically improve cardiac functional performance.

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Institute for Regenerative Medicine

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