Sylvia Evans, PhD
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Department of Medicine, School of Medicine
Dr. Evans’ research focuses on defining genetic pathways underlying heart development and to apply that understanding to both congenital and adult heart disease. A basic understanding of heart development is key toward understanding congenital heart disease and will inform potential cell-based therapies to repair diseased hearts. Building a functioning heart requires the specification and interaction of a number of cell lineages of distinct function. The Evans lab is trying to understand the stepwise process by which mesodermal precursors become committed to cardiac progenitors, and then specified to become distinct cardiac lineages.
The Evans lab is also studying several stem cell populations which give rise to distinct cardiovascular lineages. Model systems are mouse and embryonic stem cells. Dr. Evan’s lab has created a number of cre-expressing mouse models which will enable them to examine gene pathways required for specific cardiac lineages, including that of the proepicardial organ, cardiac fibroblasts, and the sino-atrial node. Another area of active interest is the formation of the coronary vasculature.
Cai et al. (2003). Isl1 Identifies a Cardiac Progenitor Population that Proliferates Prior to Differentiation and Contributes a Majority of Cells to the Heart. Developmental Cell. 5:878-889.
Laugwitz et al. (2005). Post-natal isl1+ cardioblasts are native progenitors that spontaneously enter fully differentiated contractile and pacemaking cardiac lineages. Nature. 433:647-653.
Zhou et al (2007). Modulation of morphogenesis by noncanonical Wnt signaling requires ATF/CREB family-medicated transcriptional activation of TGFbeta2. Nat Genet. 39:1225-1234.
Sun et al. (2008). A central role for Islet1 in sensory neuron development linking sensory and spinal gene regulatory programs. Nature Neuroscience 11:1283- 1293.
Cai et al (2008). A myocardial lineage derives from Tbx18 epicardial cells. Nature 454:104-108.