Lab: Leask Lab
Research Interests: We are using a combination of transgenic and gene knockout approaches to uncover the processes involved in progressive fibrotic disease. Although the individual diseases may be rare, there is no effective therapy. Collectively they present a significant health care burden. Genetic manipulation of the central cell type that involved in connective tissue deposition, the fibroblast, is a prerequisite to developing targeted therapeutic modalities for fibrotic diseases. In particular, we work on the growth factors and signaling cascades resulting in fibrogenesis with an aim in identifying specific target points for drug intervention in fibrotic disease, using scleroderma as a model. Currently, we are interested in the regulation and function of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF, CCN2) in normal and fibrotic cells. In addition, we are interested in understanding the interplay among TGFbeta, endothelin-1 and CTGF and how pro-fibrotic pathways downstream of these proteins might be selectively blocked, in the expectation that our approach will uncover novel anti-fibrotic therapies.