John Konhilas


Acting Program Director

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences

Member of the Graduate Faculty

Professor, Physiological Sciences - GIDP

Gut microbiome and cardiac remodeling. Our lab has a long-standing interest in the ability of environmental factors, like diet, to impact cardiac disease. Advances in sequencing and bioinformatic technologies have allowed unprecedented characterization of the gut microbiome. We have discovered novel modifiers of the gut microbiome that protect against cardiac injury following ischemia. Sarcomere dynamics and crossbridge kinetics. Contractile perturbations downstream of Ca2+ binding to troponin C, the so-called sarcomere-controlled mechanisms, represent the earliest indicators of cardiovascular disease. We can now state the dynamics of cardiac contraction and relaxation during CVD are governed by downstream mechanisms, particularly the kinetics and energetics of the cross-bridge cycle. Our lab focuses on the contractile properties of the cardiomyocyte and how this changes with CVD. Sex dimorphisms in cardiac adaptation.Sex/gender differences exist in human cardiac disease resulting from many disease etoilogies including hypertension, myocardial infarction, and cardiomyopathies (HCM). We have adapted a novel model of menopause to uniquely address HCM and CVD, in general. As part of these studies, we became interested in a specific, energy-dependent signaling pathway, adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (AMPK) demonstrating that AMPK regulates contractile function and energy cost of contraction. Predicting and mitigating postoperative surgical outcomes. (1) Cognitive impairment resulting from cardiac bypass surgery. Although treatment strategies for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are improving, coronary revascularization remains one of the most common interventional procedures. Following CABG surgery, cognitive impairment is reported in 50-75% of patients at discharge, 20-50% at 6 weeks and up to 40% at five years. Exciting new preclinical data from our group shows that systemic administration of Ang-(1-7) attenuates and even reverses CHF-induced cognitive impairment in mice. Our work has resulted in 2 patent applications (UA13-120 UA 14-167) and an IND application for the for Ang-(1-7) as a protective agent against CABG-induced cognitive impairment. (2) Predicting and mitigating postoperative new onset atrial fibrillation and cardiac remodeling. We have discovered a potential use for Human Amniotic Membranes for the prevention of postoperative (bypass surgery) outcomes. In human subjects, membrane placement during CABG preventative new onset postoperative atrial fibrillation. In mice, we prevented wall thinning post-myocardial infarction.

Offering Research Opportunities?


Prerequisite Courses

Dedicated, hard-working and willing to commit for 2 years.

Majors Considered

Physiology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Nutritional Sciences

Types of Opportunities

Description of Opportunity

No description given

Start Date

January 2008

Primary Department

Affiliated Departments

Research Location