Heart rhythm research expert spoke Thursday at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Peter Mohler
Peter Mohler

Heart failure is a common condition – approximately 5.7 million people in the United States suffer from it. The cardiac problem manifests itself through diseases that can damage the heart, such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Many of these conditions can result in abnormal patterns of electrical activity called arrhythmias that may, under extreme conditions, result in sudden cardiac death.

Peter J. Mohler, director of the Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, will discuss newly discovered biological pathways underlying heart failure and arrhythmia at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Virginia Tech Carilion Institute as part of the Eric Shullman Distinguished Public Lecture Series.

Mohler is an internationally recognized leader in cardiovascular science. He received the Pew Charitable Trust Scholar’s Award in the Biomedical Sciences, the Children’s Heart Foundation’s Smart Heart Award and the Heart Hope Award form the Hope Heart Foundation.

He also is an established investigator of the American Heart Association and a Kavli Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His research discoveries have led to new insights into abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure, and resulted in the discovery of five different human diseases.

Mohler’s research team focuses on why patients develop abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure. They study the molecular pathways underlying membrane targeting in the heart, with the goal of developing new methods and technologies for diagnosing and treating patients with cardiovascular disease, and defining new therapies to treat both congenital and acquired forms of arrhythmia.

During his presentation, Mohler will share his research findings, as well as the potential implications for the health of the human heart.

Mohler’s research program specifically focuses on the mechanisms underlying the targeting and regulation of membrane- associated and signaling proteins in cardiac and other excitable cells.

He has made key advances in understanding the role of specific polypeptides in the targeting and function of ion channels and transporters with a major focus on the molecular assemblies that are critical for the electrical signaling in heart cells, voltage gated sodium channels, and how they are delivered to the correct site in each cardiomyocyte.

He has also made important advances in the understanding a human cardiac arrhythmia syndrome associated with sinus node dysfunction, repolarization defects, and polymorphic tachyarrhythmia in response to stress and/or exercise called ankyrin-B syndrome. His work has also led to the discovery of a new class of heart disorders known as ‘channelopathies’ that are due to abnormal cellular localization of functionally-related ion channels and transporters.

Mohler received his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in a Howard Hughes Medical Institute laboratory at Duke University Medical Center.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and registration is not required to attend. The program is sponsored by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and Virginia Tech’s Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health graduate program.