The goal of our laboratory is to reveal the mechanisms causing cardiovascular complications of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, and to find novel treatment and prevention strategies to combat these complications in patients. In relation to this overall goal, we are currently investigating the effects of diabetes and metabolic syndrome on hematopoietic stem cells in mechanistic mouse models. This line of research has demonstrated an expansion of hematopoietic stem cells, which in turn leads to increased levels of inflammatory monocytes in the blood and in plaques of atherosclerosis in a model of the metabolic syndrome. We are investigating the reason for this stem cell expansion associated with metabolic syndrome, and whether normalization of stem cells will prevent atherosclerosis, the process leading to cardiovascular disease.
In addition, Dr. Bornfeldt directs a Diabetes Research Center core facility together with Dr. Dan Miller. This core provides CRISPR/Cas9 services in stem cells in collaboration with the ISCRM Tom & Sue Ellison Stem Cell Core, and also provides viral vectors for use in stem cells, other cells, and mouse models.