Kyriakos’ O-GlcNac Work Published in JBC

Congrats to Kyriakos, whose study on the impact of O-GlcNacylation on the MAP kinases, p38 and Erk1/2 in cardiac myocytes was accepted for publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This work was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Brian O’Rourke (Division of Cardiology) and Dr. Natasha Zachara (Dept of Biological Chemistry). Kyriakos’ studies were aided by our talented undergraduate students Jessica, Cecelia, Amir and Eddie.

Brian Speaks at the 8th International Caparica Conference on Analytical Proteomics

It was tough work, but someone had to do it. Brian was invited to present at the 8th International Caparica Conference on Analytical Proteomics in Caparica, Portugal (across the bay from Lisbon), July 18-21, 2022. Specifically, he talked about how the lab has used integrated proteomics (whole proteome and targeted MS quantification) and metabolomics to reveal a role for cardiac ATRA insufficiency in the pathogenesis of HF in both preclinical models and patients. The conference, organized by the indefatigable Jose Luis Capelo (NOVA University of Lisboa), featured an excellent keynote presentation from Christopher Overall (University of British Columbia) and American Journal of Physiology editor, Dr. Merry Lindsey (Meharry College). The program was strong and the venue afforded a beautiful vista of the Atlantic Ocean, two reasons Brian will definitely put the meeting on his calendar for 2024.

Brian Speaks at the 6th International Conference of Retinoids

It was a pleasure to present face-to-face at the 6th International Conference of Retinoids held June 5-10, at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The info-packed conference was chaired by Dr. Maureen Kane (U Maryland) and Alex Moise (Northern Ontario School of Medicine). We presented our latest work on the role of cardiac ATRA insufficiency in heart failure. Indeed, Hopkins was well represented, with Laszlo Nagy, Ph.D. who spoke on the role of RXRs in the epigenetic control of macrophage polarization and Keith West, DrPH, who gave a keynote address chronicling his work on the impact of Vitamin A supplementation in Asia…which was interrupted halfway through by an emergency tornado warning! Memorable on many levels.

Kyriakos earns CDA from the AHA

Congrats to Kyriakos for earning a career development award from the American Heart Association to study the role of O-GlcNacylation in the context of cardioprotection. Kyriakos is a highly talented researcher with a broad skill set in molecular cardiology. He will be in the market for an Assistant Professor position soon. Interested parties should contact

Award from the Saving Tiny Hearts Society.

We are honored to have been awarded a 1-year grant from the Saving Tiny Hearts Society to initiate studies of the enzymes that underlie the metabolism in the human heart. The premise of the work is that notwithstanding advances in pediatric cardiac surgery, children born with CHD remain at risk of developing HF throughout their development to adulthood and beyond. We submit that proper retinoid metabolism and signaling is key to both human heart development and post-natal heart health, yet the enzymes responsible for the metabolism of retinol to retinoic acid in the human heart are largely unknown. This represents a fundamental knowledge gap in cardiac biology. We believe that identifying these enzymes represents a crucial first step toward the design of therapies to preserve cardiac ATRA homeostasis.

JCI Insight Publishes our work on Cardiac Retinoic Acid Insufficiency in Heart Failure

The labors of the past few years came to fruition with the publication of Cardiac retinoic acid levels decline in heart failure in JCI Insight.Brian would like to extend tremendous thanks to all of the co-authors, but particularly our tireless visiting postdoc, Ni Yang (1st author), our super-talented undergraduate trainee, Lauren Parker, and our team of collaborators at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy led by Dr. Maureen Kane. The project showcases the power of systems biology in action, with molecular and physiological experiments informed by multi-omic analysis and network inference.

Brian Speaks and Lauren Presents at BCVS 2018

Brian and Lauren hit the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2018 Scientific Sessions in San Antonio, July 31-Aug2, last week. Brian presented his invited seminar entitled Altered Retinostasis in Heart Failure in the Tuesday session on Transcriptional Regulation and Epigenetics. Stunning talks by all the speakers, including Enzo Porello from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Tom Vondriska from UCLA and Sam Bhattacharyya from UTSW.

Lauren presented her first poster at a national meeting entitled Characterization of the Mechanisms of Retinoic Acid-Mediated Suppression of Cardiac Hypertrophy, in the Wednesday afternoon poster session. She nailed it! Lots of traffic, interest and feedback.

Brian and Lauren would like to thank the organizers of the BCVS 2018 meeting for the opportunity to present their data.

American Heart Association logo

Foster Lab Awarded Grant from the American Heart Association

A few weeks ago we were thrilled to learn that the AHA has chosen to fund our work on altered retinoic acid homeostasis in heart failure progression with a Transformational Project Award. I wish to extend my thanks to the AHA, past and present members of the research team (Ni, Lauren & Kyriakos), as well as colleagues for their critical advice and support (you know who you are).

Foster Lab 2016 Year-in-Review Part I: The Book

Manual of Cardiovascular Proteomics coverYikes, it’s been a while since the last update. As we begin 2017, this is a good time to reflect on the year that was. A source of pride in 2016 was the publication of the book Manual of Cardiovascular Proteomics, which I co-edited with Dr. Giulio Agnetti Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Research on Cardiac Intermediate Filaments here at Johns Hopkins Cardiology, and Dr. Merry Lindsey, Professor of Physiology/Medicine and Director of the Mississippi Center for Heart Research at the University of Mississippi. It was a delight to work with them as well as the cadre of exceptional contributors that includes both icons of cardiovascular proteomics and emerging stars. Merry, Giulio and I also chipped in a few chapters ;-). The scope of the book is pretty impressive, ranging from the time-honored fundamentals of chromatography and mass spectrometry to the modern tools of statistics, pathway, and network analyses, as they are applied to hotbed fields including ischemia-reperfusion injury, heart failure, vascular dysfunction, stem cell biology and clinical biomarker development. Check it out.

Foster Lab 2016 Year-in-Review Part II: The Paper

image002In September 2016 we published the big one. I am referring to our paper:

Integrated Omic Analysis of a Guinea Pig Model of Heart Failure and Sudden Cardiac Death. J Proteome Res. 2016 Sep 2;15(9):3009-28. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00149. PMID: 27399916
in which we examined the transcriptome, proteome and metabolome of heart failure progression in a modified pressure-overload guinea pig model that uniquely recapitulates both the transition from compensated hypertrophy to end-stage heart failure, but also clinically relevant sudden cardiac death. The model was developed by Dr. Ting Liu and Dr. Brian O’Rourke, Professor of Medicine and Vice-Chair for Basic and Translational Research in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. This paper represents the culmination of a broad collaboration between cardiac physiologists and biochemists, MS specialists, bioinformaticists and statisticians and commercial partners.

The goal was more than to simply extensively phenotype a new model of heart failure. Rather, we used the latest inferential pathway and upstream regulator analyses to garner new insights into likely gene-regulatory programs at work both early in hypertrophy and upon cardiac decompensation. We also wanted to showcase the value of multi-omic integration. The transcriptome provided the greatest depth of coverage particularly for proteomically-recalcitrant proteins like ion channels and other integral membrane proteins. But the proteins are the ultimate executors of cardiac function and for nearly 3000 of them, the correlation between protein and transcript changes in heart failure was fairly weak and were sometimes diametrically opposed, suggesting substantial post-transcriptional regulation. By integrating the proteome and metabolome we were also able to identify putative bottlenecks in metabolism.

Along with Dr. O’Rourke and collaborators, we have laid out the multi-omic landscape of hypertrophy and heart failure and have distilled a few essential take home messages. Moreover, our hope is that this study will serve as a resource for the research community. Along with the article, we have included an expansive online supplement that contains reader-friendly tables of analyses, as well as raw MS2 signal intensities for those who wish mine the data further.