David Dichek received his BA degree from Princeton University and his MD from UCLA. He trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and in cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. His laboratory research training took place at Massachusetts General Hospital and in the Molecular Hematology Branch of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute intramural researc h program. Before joining the cardiology division at the University of Washington he directe d a laboratory research program at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease/UCSF.
Dr. Dichek’s laboratory is interested in understanding the genetic basis of vascular disease and in developing gene-based strategies for preventing and treating vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and aneurysm formation. Experimental approaches include viral vector-based gene transfer both in vitro and in vivo (in the carotid arteries of mice and rabbits) as well as use of transgenic and knockout mice in which genes are targeted to—or deleted from—the vasculature by use of cell-type-specific promoters.
By using these genetic approaches, the laboratory is able to define the roles of individual genes in the development or amelioration of vascular disease. These discoveries provide the basis for development of gene-based or pharmacologic therapies to prevent or reverse vascular disease.
There are three main projects:
1) development and application of viral vectors for gene therapy of atherosclerosis;
2) elucidation of the role of proteases of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator/plasminogen system in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and plaque rupture;
3) elucidation of the role of transforming growth factor beta signaling in atherosclerosis, aneurysm formation, and cardiovascular development.