Center for Preventive Cardiology

Research Laboratories

Overview

The Center for Preventive Cardiology encompasses research and clinical operations focused on the study and management of lipid abnormalities and prevention of ischemia-based cardiovascular disease. Dr. Sergio Fazio is the director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology and leads the center’s research laboratory.  

Current Research

The main interest of our laboratory is the understanding the pathophysiology of lipoprotein metabolism and the molecular and cellular mechanisms of atherosclerosis development. Atherosclerosis is a commonly occurring degeneration of the arterial wall, which is characterized by lipid deposition and inflammation, and represents the pathologic basis for cardiovascular diseases. Atherosclerosis-based diseases are still the number one cause of death, morbidity, hospitalizations, and days lost from work. The lipids that deposit in the arterial wall are derived from plasma lipoproteins, and accumulate as a result of hyperlipidemia, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream, or endothelial cell changes, caused by genetics, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, renal disease, and other conditions, that allow enhanced infiltration and trapping of plasma lipoproteins in to the artery wall. Our laboratory has a track record of high impact publication and federal funding on topics ranging from molecular mechanisms of hepatic uptake of postprandial lipoproteins to the role of macrophages in lipid metabolism and atherogenesis.

Among many standard methodologies used in our laboratory, we have also established the approach of bone marrow transplantation as a way to easily trace donor macrophages in an in vivo context. This has allowed us to study over the years a number of genes for their contribution to the atherosclerotic process. We have also determined the role of several proteins involved in lipid metabolism, inflammation and response to insulin signaling to the overall contribution of the cell type in atherosclerosis. Some of our work focuses on gene therapy possibilities exploiting hematopoietic stem cells and monocytes as targets of genetic engineering, resulting in the production of genes of therapeutic value in the arterial wall.

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Faculty and Staff

Sergio Fazio, MD, Ph.D. – Director, Center for Preventive Cardiology

Hagai Tavori, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor

Nathalie Pamir, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor  

Ilaria Giunzioni, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow

Anna Shivinsky, M.Sc. – Research Assistant

Deanna Plubell, M.Sc. – Research Assistant

Joshua Miles – Research Assistant

Read staff bios for the Preventive Cardiology Lab here

Contact Us

Dr. Fazio’s research laboratory is located in the Hatfield Research Center. Our telephone number is (503) 494-5690. Dr. Fazio can be contacted directly at fazio@ohsu.edu

Highlighted Publications

Giunzioni I, Tavori H, Covarrubias R, Major AS, Ding L,Zhang Y, DeVay RM, Hong L, Fan D, Predazzi IM, Rashid S, Linton MF, Fazio S. Local effects of human PCSK9 on the atherosclerotic lesion. J Pathol. 2016 Jan;238(1):52-6.

Tavori H, Su YR, Yancey PG, Giunzioni I, Wilhelm AJ, Blakemore JL, Zabalawi M, Linton MF, Sorci-THomas MG, Fazio S. Macrophage apoAI protects against dyslipidemia-induced dermatitis and atherosclerosis without affecting HDL. J Lipid Res. 2015 Jan 15. pii: jlr.M056408.

Tavori H, Fan D, Giunzioni I, Zhu L, Linton MF, Fogo AB, Fazio S. Macrophage-derived apoESendai suppresses atherosclerosis while causing lipoprotein glomerulopathy in hyperlipidemic mice. J Lipid Res. 2014 Oct;55(10):2073-81.

Rashid S, Tavori H, Brown PE, Linton MF, He J, Giunzioni I, Fazio S. Proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 promotes intestinal overproduction  of triglyceride-rich apolipoprotein B lipoproteins through both low-density lipoprotein receptor-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Circulation. 2014 Jul 29;130(5):431-41.

Tavori H, Giunzioni I, Linton MF, Fazio S. Loss of plasma proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 (PCSK9) after lipoprotein apheresis. Circ Res. 2013 Dec 6;113(12):1290-5.

Predazzi IM, Rokas A, Deinard A, Schnetz-Boutaud N, Williams ND, Bush WS, Tacconelli A, Friedrich K, Fazio S, Novelli G, Haines JL, Sirugo G, Williams SM. Putting pleiotropy and selection into context defines a new paradigm for interpreting genetic data. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2013 Jun;6(3):299-307.