Aistrup Lab

Dr. Aistrup’s research lab focuses on the basis of cardiac arrhythmias – irregular heart beat rates. Cardiac arrhythmias can occur in both the lower (ventricles) and upper (atria) of the heart, and while ventricular arrhythmias pose greater risk to life as they can lead to sudden cardiac death, atrial arrhythmias – i.e., atrial fibrillation – are the most common and while not immediately life-threatening can lead to stroke and heart failure. These arrhythmias can arise by several means consequent to heart disease (e.g., heart failure), myocardial infarctions or genetic anomalies resulting in ion channelopathies (e.g., long or short QT syndromes, Brugada syndrome) and/or cardiomyopathies (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia). Dr. Aistrup’s main line of cardiac arrhythmia investigation is on how atypical calcium signaling in cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) contributes to arrhythmogenesis. Calcium is key in cardiac excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling – the cellular/molecular processes that underlie the heartbeat – and therefore any perturbation to calcium handling will affect heart function.

Moreover, as cardiac E-C coupling must be dynamic to meet the bodies changing demands, it is vitally modulated by multiple cell-signaling systems such as the autonomic (‘fight-or-flight’ and ‘rest-and-digest’ responses) and renin-angiotensin (blood pressure regulation) G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) systems. His laboratory engages in the study of proarrhythmic abnormalities in both core E-C coupling and its modulatory systems, particularly under conditions of or leading to heart failure, and employs multiple methodologies to do so – i.e., cellular and tissue-level electrophysiology and live subcellular calcium imaging, as well as various immunological and molecular biological assays. While much of Dr. Aistrup’s research relies on utilizing both small and large animal models, upon joining the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI), his laboratory has recently begun to incorporate human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (h_iPSC-CMs) into his research, specifically to utilize them in the characterization and potential correction of genetic mutation-induced cardiac arrhythmias.

The overall goal of Dr. Aistrup’s research to elucidate and precisely characterize aberrant cellular/molecular underpinnings of cardiac arrhythmogenesis is to provide the basis for not only improved but patient-specific anti-arrhythmic therapies.

 

Research Assistant Professor, MMRI

Email : , Phone : 315-624-7486

 

 

 

 

Dr. Aistrup began his research career working upon obtaining his PhD in biochemistry in the laboratories of Dr. Elias Michaelis, MD, PhD and Dr. Richard Schowen, PhD (Department of Chemistry) at the University of Kansas (title of dissertation: “Functional Reconstitution and Ion Channel Characterization of a NMDA/Glutamate Receptor in Planar Lipid Bilayers”). He went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Toshio Narahashi, PhD (Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Biological Chemistry) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he investigated the alcohol action on GABAA and neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-ion channels. In 2000, Dr. Aistrup did another short-term postdoc in the laboratory of Richard Morrisett, PhD (Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology) at the University of Texas, Austin, studying amino acid synaptic transmission before returning to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2001 as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Biological Chemistry. His initial research focus at Northwestern was on alcohol modulation of L-type calcium channels, which he quickly expanding to encompass alcohol effects on cardiac E-C coupling upon establishing a very productive collaboration with Dr. J. Andrew Wasserstrom, PhD (Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology). Dr. Wasserstrom and Dr. Alan Kadish, MD (Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Director of Clinical Electrophysiology) soon thereafter in 2004 recruited Dr. Aistrup to the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute where he continued his collaborations with Dr. Wasserstrom and turning his research focus to the study of abnormal calcium release events during cardiac. In 2006, Dr. Aistrup established another productive collaboration with physician-scientist, Dr. Rishi Arora, investigating autonomic and oxidative stress modulation of atrial E-C coupling and electrophysiology in large-animal models of heart failure and atrial fibrillation. These research endeavors resulted in Dr. Aistrup being investigators on multiple NIH-funded grant projects, and allowed his rise to the rank of Research Associate Professor at the Feinberg Cardiovascular Institute. In latter part of 2016, was recruited to the Masonic Medical Research Institute as a Principle Research Scientist by Dr. Jonathan Cordeiro, PhD (interim Research Director).

Training

Dr. Aistrup earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Fort Hays State University, Hays KS, and obtained his PhD in Biology/Biochemistry under Dr. Elias Michaelis, MD, PhD and Dr. Richard Schowen, PhD at the University of Kansas, Lawrence KS. He did his postdoctoral training in molecular pharmacology and cellular electrophysiology with Toshio Narahashi, PhD at Northwestern University.

 

Why Masonic Medical Research Institute

A great opportunity to expand upon ongoing and develop new forward-looking biomedical research alongside newly recruited faculty and Director.

 

Affiliations

- Heart Rhythm Society

- American Physiological Society

- Biophysical Society

- Cardiac Electrophysiology Society

- American Heart Association

 

Professional titles

- Principle Scientist/Assistant Professor, Masonic Medical Research Institute (2016-2020)

- Research Associate Professor, Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (2014-2016)

 

Education

- 1988 – BS, Chemistry Fort Hays State University

- 1994 – PhD, Biochemistry University of Kansas

 

Honors and Awards

- Royal Danish Academy of Science Annual Ion Channel Symposium Invited Speaker (2012, Copenhagen, Denmark)

- Research Society on Alcoholism Annual Scientific Meeting Invited Symposium Speaker (1999, Santa Barbara, CA)

- F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (1996-1999) – “Ethanol on GABAA and Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Intracellular Regulation”.