Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Dean's Postdoctoral to Faculty Fellows

Xi ChengXi Cheng, Ph.D.
Mentor: Bina Joe, Ph.D.

My research focuses on the roles of non-coding RNAs in complex polygenic diseases such as hypertension. I am especially interested in the application of interdisciplinary approaches combining computer science and biomedical science for my research projects. For example, one of my current research projects is to identify and characterize novel non-coding RNAs, e.g., long non-coding RNAs and circular RNAs, in the regulation of blood pressure, wherein advanced computational and bioinformatics methods are required to analyze the next-generation sequencing and microarray data. I have also been actively assisting and collaborating with other investigators by developing and applying bioinformatics pipelines to analyze whole genome sequencing data and amplicon sequencing data (e.g., 16S metagenomics). My long-term career goal is to tightly connect genetics research with machine learning and other computational approaches for guiding biomedical validation and therapeutic development in genetic diseases.


Dr. McCarthy Cameron McCarthy, Ph.D.
Mentor: Bina Joe, Ph.D.

Hypertension has been described as a condition of premature vascular aging (relative to actual chronological age). In fact, many factors that contribute to the deterioration of vascular function as we age are accelerated in hypertension.  I am interested in the underlying causes as to why arteries from hypertensive animals and patients appear older than they actually are. I believe that a toxic accumulation of proteins and organelles, as a result of an ineffective cellular autophagy, causes cells in the vasculature to senesce and become dysfunctional.  As vascular age is a new clinically used index for cardiovascular risk, understanding this mechanism may assist in the development of new therapies to prevent premature vascular aging in hypertension.

Last Updated: 8/27/18