Muge Kuyumcu-Martinez, PhD, a professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics and a member of the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center and the UVA Cancer Center, was awarded a $2.1 million NIH R01 grant titled “The role of RNA binding proteins in heart development and congenital heart defects.”
This NIH grant will support the studies to investigate how loss of function of the RNA binding protein RBFOX2 leads to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which is a congenital heart disease with a high mortality rate. Very little is known about the etiology and pathogenic mechanisms of HLHS. This project is focused on determining the underlying mechanisms of HLHS developmental defects caused by loss of RBFOX2 and identifying RBFOX2-regulated RNA networks in the heart. Studies will help advance the development of innovative therapeutic strategies targeting pre-mRNAs.
Dr. Kuyumcu-Martinez joined UVA School of Medicine on February 8, 2023. Her lab is interested in understanding how mutations in RNA binding proteins lead to congenital and adult heart diseases with the goal to correct aberrant RNA regulatory networks for prevention or treatment of human heart diseases.