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Cardiovascular Biology Laboratory

Photo of Bruce Alan Sullenger, PhD

Bruce Alan Sullenger, PhD

Office: 421 Medical Sciences Building Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919-684-6375

The Cardiovascular Biology Laboratory, under the direction of Bruce Sullenger, is focused on multidisciplinary translational research approaches to the study of blood coagulation, inflammation, and atherogenesis at the molecular level. Novel anti-coagulation approaches developed within the program are presently undergoing pre-clinical and clinical evaluation. Ongoing studies are aimed at exploring molecular therapeutic approaches in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

The lab strives to develop novel, safe, and effective nucleic acid therapeutics. The lab currently focuses on two areas:

RNA and DNA Repair by Targeted Trans-Splicing

  • RNA repair: Using spliceosome-mediated or group I ribozyme-directed approaches
  • DNA repair: Using the group II mobile intron 

Goals for each approach

  • Evaluate and enhance activity in mammalian cell lines, primary cells, and animal models
  • Apply to clinically relevant targets such as beta-globin (sickle cell anemia, beta-thalassemia), p53 (cancer), mitochondrial genome (certain muscular/neurologic conditions), CCR5 (HIV)
  • Uncover factors influencing trans-splicing and reactions specific to the group II mobile intron 


RNA Ligands To Block or Alter Target Protein Functions

  • In-vitro selection and combinatorial chemistry
  • Cell cycle modulator
  • Immune response modulator
  • Anticoagulation
  • For targeted delivery of siRNAs

The SELEX Process

Latest Publications

Eteshola, Elias O. U., Karenia Landa, Rachel E. Rempel, Ibtehaj A. Naqvi, E Shelley Hwang, Smita K. Nair, and Bruce A. Sullenger. “Breast cancer-derived DAMPs enhance cell invasion and metastasis, while nucleic acid scavengers mitigate these effects.” Mol Ther Nucleic Acids 26 (December 3, 2021): 1–10.

Full Text

Heggestad, Jacob T., David S. Kinnamon, Lyra B. Olson, Jason Liu, Garrett Kelly, Simone A. Wall, Solomon Oshabaheebwa, et al. “Multiplexed, quantitative serological profiling of COVID-19 from blood by a point-of-care test.” Sci Adv 7, no. 26 (June 2021).

Full Text

Holl, Eda K., Victoria Frazier, Karenia Landa, David Boczkowski, Bruce Sullenger, and Smita K. Nair. “Controlling cancer-induced inflammation with a nucleic acid scavenger prevents lung metastasis in murine models of breast cancer.” Mol Ther 29, no. 5 (May 5, 2021): 1772–81.

Full Text

Olson, Lyra B., Ibtehaj A. Naqvi, Daniel J. Turner, Sarah A. Morrison, Bryan D. Kraft, Lingye Chen, Bruce A. Sullenger, Smita K. Nair, Loretta G. Que, and Jerrold H. Levy. “Key Pathogenic Factors in Coronavirus Disease 2019-Associated Coagulopathy and Acute Lung Injury Highlighted in a Patient With Copresentation of Acute Myelocytic Leukemia: A Case Report.” A a Pract 15, no. 4 (March 30, 2021): e01432.

Full Text