Carol Gregorio, PhD, director of the Molecular Cardiovascular Research Program at the UA College of Medicine, is the co-director of the UA Sarver Heart Center, the Czarina M. and Humberto S. Lopez Endowed Chair for Excellence in Cardiovascular Research, and the Luxford/Schoolcraft Endowed Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Research. She also heads the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. As a basic scientist, she has a special research interest in the contractile proteins of heart muscle. Not only has she made major contributions to the understanding of heart muscle abnormalities, but she also has been an integral part of the UA College of Medicine’s goal to strengthen its translational research and the UA Sarver Heart Center’s effort to recruit other outstanding basic scientists. A native of New York, Dr. Gregorio obtained her bachelor and master degrees from SUNY Buffalo and her PhD from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York. She did her postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. She joined the UA faculty in 1996. She is a member of the BIO5 Institute.
Dr. Gregorio’s laboratory research is focused on identifying the components and molecular mechanisms regulating actin architecture in cardiac and skeletal muscle during normal development and disease. The research objectives of the laboratory can be broadly summarized as follows: Understanding the cellular mechanisms involved in the assembly, regulation and maintenance of contractile proteins in cardiac muscle in health and disease Deciphering the mechanisms critical for precisely specifying and maintaining the lengths of actin filaments. Actin is an indispensable structural element of cells and is the major component of heart muscle. Changes in actin, caused by genetic mutations, which have been identified in humans, are a frequent cause of several forms of cardiomyopathy. The research team is determining how genetic defects in this protein affect muscle force generation and muscle contraction, leading to sudden cardiac death. Discovery of novel models of de novo cardiac muscle assembly, with special emphasis on differentiating murine embryonic stem (ES) cells to study all stages of heart muscle development.