Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI)

Pulakat Lab

The core focus of the Pulakat lab is the elucidation and manipulation of various biological pathways that contribute to the development and pathogenesis of cardio-metabolic diseases and aging and uncovering markers of sex differences in heart disease. They are developing new treatments to mitigate cardiovascular pathologies induced by obesity and diabetes and unique trans-tissue drug delivery systems for localized treatments to prevent diabetic foot ulcer. Their efforts are also directed to develop a lung treatment to mitigate chronic infection and inflammation in lower airways of lungs via localized deep-tissue drug delivery. Past research from the Pulakat Lab identified cardiac-specific cytokine and microRNA markers associated with progression of diabetes and in response to treatment with Rapamycin, an anti-aging drug. They also elucidated structure-function relationship of cardiovascular reparative Angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor AT2R and novel signaling networks of the AT2R that can mitigate progression of heart disease and vascular damage caused by diabetes and obesity.

Major goals

  1. The first goal is to validate cardiovascular and neuroprotective effects of NP-6A4, a new AT2R peptide agonist and a cardiomyopathy drug that has the FDA designation (developed and patented by Novopyxis Inc). Pulakat lab showed for the first time that NP-6A4 is more effective than β- adrenergic receptor blockers, AT1R antagonist losartan, and AT2R agonist CGP42112A in protecting human cardiovascular cells from acute nutrient deficiency and NP-6A4 suppresses vascular stiffness. NIH-funded projects are directed to validate the efficacy and utility of NP-6A4 in effecting cardio-pulmonary protection via AT2R-specific novel immunomodulatory networks in conditions of severe acute or chronic inflammation.

  2. The second goal is to validate the use of a new transdermal delivery platform technology (based on the Droplette technology developed and patented by Droplette Inc.) to expedite healing of chronic wounds (diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers) via localized deep tissue delivery of growth factors and gene therapy.

  3. The third goal is to develop a lung drug delivery platform (also based on original Droplette technology) to achieve efficient localized lung delivery of high molecular weight anti-inflammatory immunomodulators and/or anti-bacterial, anti-viral or anti-fungal drugs deep into the lower airways of lungs to combat severe chronic infections and inflammation as seen in acute respiratory distress syndrome.