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Department of Physiology Zoom seminar, Friday, June 12, at 11:00AM



The Department of Physiology welcomes Dr. Modar Kassan, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa. Dr. Kassan is a candidate for the Tenure Track Assistant Professor position in the Department of Physiology.

Dr. Kassan will present a Zoom seminar entitled “MiR-204 regulates type 1 IP3R/Ca2+ axis to control vascular smooth muscle cell contractility and blood pressure: Potential role of the gut microbiome” on Friday, June 12, 2020, from 11:00 am-12:00 pm. Zoom call-in particulars are included below. PLEASE NOTE: This is a password-protected login.

Dr. Kassan received his Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the School of Pharmacy at Salamanca University in Salamanca, Spain. He then continued into postdoctoral work at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, and the University of Iowa School of Medicine. Dr. Kassan was Associate (Junior Faculty) in the Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa prior to becoming Research Assistant Professor.

Abstract: Hypertension is a multi-system disease. Commensal bacteria that inhabit the gut (gut microbiome) can affect vascular tone and modulate blood pressure. Normotensive animals become hypertensive when transplanted with gut microbiota from hypersensitive animals and vice versa. Furthermore, hypertension in humans is associated with specific alterations in gut microbial diversity, lending credence to the premise that a change in gut microbial load and diversity (dysbiosis) contributes to the pathogenesis of hypertension.

Our data showed that gut dysbiosis is a key driver of increased vascular tone in hypertension. It also put forth the hypothesis that vascular smooth muscle-enriched microRNA-204 (miR-204) relays metabolic signals originating from gut bacteria to control smooth muscle contraction via its effects on sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release into the cytoplasm. It further shows that antibiotic-induced gut dysbiosis in mice downregulates vascular smooth muscle miR-204, leads to hypercontractility of blood vessels, is associated with upregulation of Inositol 1,4,5 trisphosophate (IP3) receptor (Ip3R1) which controls vascular smooth muscle cytosolic Ca2+, and deregulates vascular smooth muscle intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis. 

Given the enormous interest in how the human microbiome impacts health and disease, this study provides a unique opportunity to explore how a microRNA regulated by gut bacteria modulates blood pressure. Such information will open the door for microRNA-based and/or microbiota-based therapeutics to prevent or treat hypertension. 

We look forward to seeing everyone Friday morning!

Topic: Zoom seminar with Dr. Modar Kassan
Time: Jun 12, 2020 11:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

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