Matthias Nahrendorf's Lab
The laboratory focuses on the role of immunity in cardiovascular disease, specifically in atherosclerosis and heart failure. Of particular interest are the supply and production of leukocytes by the hematopoietic system, and the signals that regulate hematopoiesis after ischemic injuries such as myocardial infarction or stroke. We described that after myocardial infarction, the spleen releases a large population of ready-made leukocytes that travel to the ischemic heart (Science 2009). We further found that after myocardial infarction, increased sympathetic nerve activity modulates the hematopoietic stem cell niche, activating migration and proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells. This, in turn, accelerated the progression of atherosclerosis (Nature 2012), possibly explaining why secondary infarcts are so common in patients. We are interested in identifying and blocking danger signals arising from ischemic injury, including neural signals that amplify systemic inflammation. The laboratory also develops and employs imaging approaches to sample biology non-invasively, using MR, nuclear, optical and hybrid imaging.