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Santhanam Lab Team

Lakshmi Santhanam is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering. She has worked at the interface of engineering, cell biology, and medicine for the past decade and has made seminal contributions to our understanding of vascular stiffening in aging. The Santhanam lab has led the efforts to understand how matrix modifying enzymes, specifically tissue transglutaminase and lysyl oxidase like 2, drive vascular stiffening by dual mechanisms including matrix remodeling and vascular smooth muscle cell stiffening. Dr. Santhanam and her mentees are advancing the fields of matrix biology and vascular tissue biomechanics.
Jochen Steppan is a faculty member in the Department of Anesthesiology and CCM. He serves as the Director or Perioperative Medicine, High Risk Cardiovascular Disease and specializes in cardiothoracic anesthesiology for both adults and children. His research focuses on vascular stiffness of both the systemic and pulmonary vasculature. His research interest includes understanding the coupling of pulmonary artery remodeling and stiffening and right heart failure in pulmonary hypertension. He uses animal models of PAH to study mechanisms of pulmonary artery remodeling, and the benefits of targeting matrix remodeling to prevent or reverse vascular remodeling in PAH. Dr. Steppan is currently funded by a Society for Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA/IARS Mid-Career Grant) and an NIH K08 grant.
Sebastian Barreto-Ortiz is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology and CCM. His research interest is in the area harnessing of constitutively expressed non-visual opsins to mediate vasorelaxation to treat diseases characterized by chronic vasoconstriction. Dr. Barreto-Ortiz is funded by an AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Huilei Wang is a PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is spearheading our efforts to identify the mechanisms by which the enzyme lysyl oxidase like 2 drives vascular stiffening in aging.
Sandeep Jandu is a pre-doctoral trainee with a keen interest in vascular physiology. He conducts a number of aging studies in the laboratory.
Kavitha Nandakumar received her Master of Philosophy from the University of Madras, India. Her research interest includes molecular genetics. She studies CRISPR/Cas9 generated mutations in mice and how they contribute to vascular stiffening in aging.
Joshua Krachman is an undergraduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is currently funded by a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA) to study the molecular mechanism of photorelaxation in the aorta.
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