Thomas Andrew Qvistgaard Jepps
Cardiovascular disease is the single biggest killer worldwide, and it is especially prevalent in developed countries such as Denmark, UK and the United States. Vascular dysfunction is related to arteries becoming narrower and less responsive to dilators. It is well established that K+ ion efflux from smooth muscle cells through K+ channels limits the contractility of the smooth muscle cells that drive changes in arterial diameter. Consequently, any modification in the function and expression of the K+ ion channels has a significant impact on the contractile activity of the smooth muscle.
My work is concerned with defining the vascular impact of specific regulatory mechanisms that influence vascular ion channels, particularly K+ channel. The two areas in which I am predominantly focused are the KCNE ancillary subunits and microtubules in smooth muscle cells.
Primary fields of research
The overarching aim of my research is to reveal and investigate new mechanisms that regulate arterial tone in order to improve our understanding of how vascular diseases, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, develop and identify novel therapeutic targets.
My research currently encompasses multiple projects aimed at better understanding vascular physiology and investigating new pharmacological targets in the vascular wall. My predominant area of research investigates novel targets for the treatment of hypertension. Within this project I am investigating microtubules and KCNE subunits in the vasculature. I have multiple other research projects on which I am actively working, namely the regulations of smooth muscle cell proliferation in atherosclerosis, identifying novel ion channels involved in angiogensis and determining the mechanisms underlying functional sympatholysis.
I am a highly skilled researcher with expertise in isometric tension recordings, electrophysiology, immunostaining and microscopy, proximity ligation assays, quantitative PCR and Western blotting. I have been able to use my plethora of skills in the lab to produce several publications in prestigious journals in our field, such as Circulation and Hypertension. My work as an independent researcher is now recognized on an international level, highlighted by several invitations to present my latest research at multiple international conferences and departmental seminars.