Richard Clements, PhD
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University
The research aims of Dr. Clements’ laboratory focus on deleterious side effects associated with cardiac surgery. His main investigations are focused on mechanisms and potential treatment of myocardial stunning. Stunning can happen following surgery or ischemia and is associated with decreased cardiac contraction. His current research focuses on the role of small heat shock proteins (sHSP) in the setting of myocardial stunning following cardioplegic arrest (solutions used to stop the heart during surgery). Recent investigations demonstrate a novel role for these proteins in regulation of cardiac contractile function based on phosphorylation status. Work in the laboratory is focused on elucidating mechanisms of sHSP mediated changes in cardiac function, and potential therapeutic strategies to improve heart function following surgery. There is a broad range of models used in the laboratory: from patient samples obtained before and after cardiac surgery, analysis of physiology and biochemical signaling in whole heart models of cardioplegic arrest and reperfusion, to cell culture analysis of isolated myocytes subjected to imitated cardiac surgery. Other areas of investigation in collaboration with Dr. Sellke’s laboratory include contractile abnormalities of the coronary vasculature associated with cardiac surgery and/or cardiovascular disease risk factors.