Mentor: Dr. Paul Yu
I have completed my undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. My PhD research focused on vasoactive G protein-coupled receptor signaling and its roles in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). This work was conducted in the lab of my mentor, Dr. Anthony Davenport, an expert in signal transduction and vascular biology, as well as Dr. Nicholas Morrell, an expert in pulmonary vascular disease. As I learned more about this challenging disease, I became interested in how the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)/transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling pathway, a critical pathway that is genetically implicated and dysregulated in PAH. I joined Dr. Paul Yu’s Group in BWH to pursue postdoctoral research on this subject. Since then, my scientific interests have greatly expanded, and I am now also working on other diseases associated with dysregulated BMP signaling, including vascular and valvular calcification, disease of abnormal angiogenesis including hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia syndrome, and rare diseases of dysregulated signaling such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. The work in pulmonary vascular biology has potential for guiding the development of new drugs and diagnostic modalities for PAH. My work spans from computational data analysis, in vitro and in vivo work, to pre-clinical efficacy and even clinical studies. I enjoy every aspect of this multi-disciplinary research. My proudest accomplishment is demonstrating that sotatercept, a ligand trap for activin and growth and differentiation factors (GDFs), is effective in attenuating and reversing the development of pulmonary hypertension in pre-clinical studies. This finding has led to the testing of sotatercept in a recent phase II clinical trial (PULSAR), for which it was recently reported that the primary endpoint of demonstrating efficacy in reducing pulmonary vascular resistance in a population of patients with severe PAH was attained.