|Martin Young, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Areas of Focus: Role of the Circadian Clock within the Heart
RESEARCH DESCRIPTIONResearch in Dr. Young's laboratory is focused on understanding how environmental factors, such as time-of-day and nutrition, influence cardiovascular health and disease.
Research in Dr. Young’s laboratory is focused on understanding how environmental factors, such as time-of-day and nutrition, influence cardiovascular health and disease. Regarding time-of-day, the laboratory is actively identifying the role(s) of the circadian clock within the cardiomyocyte. A broad objective of the laboratory has been to test the hypothesis that the circadian clock within the cardiomyocyte synchronizes responsiveness of the heart to diurnal variations in its environment. Impairment of this molecular mechanism would therefore result in an inability of the heart to respond appropriately to the onset of such environmental influences (i.e., maladaptation). The primary humoral factors currently under investigation are nutrients, such as glucose and fatty acids. In the latter case, the heart exhibits dramatic time-of-day-dependent oscillations in its responsiveness to fatty acids. Failure to respond adequately to increased fatty acid availability will result in accumulation of intramyocellular fatty acid derivatives. The latter may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of myocardial contractile dysfunction observed during obesity and diabetes mellitus. To address this line of reasoning, the laboratory has recently generated genetically modified mouse models in which the circadian clock is specifically impaired within cardiomyocytes. These models have provided novel insights regarding the critical roles of the cardiomyocyte circadian clock.