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Molecular Cardiology Research Institute
Molecular Cardiology Research Center

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Molecular Cardiology Research Center

The purpose of the Molecular Cardiology Research Center (MCRC) is to study the molecular mechanisms that underlie cardiovascular biology and disease. Richard Karas, M.D., Ph.D., Elisa Kent Mendelsohn Professor of Molecular Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, is the Director of the MCRC.  He is also the Chief Scientific Officer and Vice Chairman for Scientific Affairs for the Department of Medicine, at Tufts Medical Center.  The MCRC is the largest and oldest laboratory in the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute.  The MCRC is equipped for state-of-the-art molecular biological and biochemical research to study cardiovascular physiology and disease. At present, there are five principal investigators and a total of 25 individuals who participate in the research efforts in the MCRC.

Research Focus and Highlights


Principal projects in the MCRC involve molecular vascular biology, and more specifically, signal transduction in vascular and cardiac cells.  One major area of focus in the MCRC is the molecular mechanisms that regulate vascular tone.  Ongoing projects include cloning and characterization of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG)-interacting proteins, PKG regulation of thrombin receptor signaling, and characterization of interactions between Rho/Rho kinases, PKG and the myosin phosphatase. These signaling pathways are also being studied in cardiac cells.
A second major focus in the MCRC involves study of the molecular mechanisms of action of nuclear hormone receptors such as estrogen receptors and mineralocorticoid receptors in cardiovascular health and disease. MCRC investigators first established that human vascular cells and cardiomyocytes contain functional estrogen receptors and mineralocorticoid receptors. This work established the cardiovascular system as a target for direct actions of aldosterone and estrogen, the steroid hormones that signal through these receptors.   Ongoing studies are directed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms that mediate these novel nuclear hormone receptor actions in the cardiovascular system and developing newer, targeted therapies that avoid the side effect profiles of current hormone replacement therapies. 


 Research Administrator: Patricia Griffiths-Rossiter


Richard Karas, M.D., Ph.D.

Tufts Medical Center

800 Washington Street, Box 080

Boston, MA 02111

Richard Karas




Recent Publications


1. Rapid progress for non-nuclear estrogen receptor signaling. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2010 Jun.


2. Balancing the intended and unintended effects of statins. British Medical Journal. 2010 May.


3. High blood pressure arising from a defect in vascular function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 2008 Apr.


4. HRT and the Young at Heart. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007 Jun.


 See All MCRI Publications