Brent A. French

Primary Appointment

  • Professor, Biomedical Engineering


Research Interest(s)

Novel Therapies for Treating and Preventing Ischemic Heart Disease

Research Description

Our interests focus on developing gene therapy for treating and preventing cardio-vascular disease. An interdisciplinary approach is used to integrate recent technical advances with gene therapy research. In particular, cutting-edge imaging techniques such as MRI are used to expedite research by providing an accurate measure of gene therapy's efficacy against cardiovascular disease.

Current research projects in our lab focus on using gene therapy against myocardial infarction and heart failure. Recent work shows that the biological messenger nitric oxide plays a multifunctional role in protecting the heart against ischemic damage. Thus one project seeks to determine whether gene therapy with nitric oxide synthase can protect the heart against myocardial infarction.

One of the most damaging properties of superoxide is its ability to react with (and thereby inactivate) nitric oxide. Not only does this reaction deplete endogenous levels of nitric oxide, but it also yields a reaction product (peroxynitrite) that is severely damaging to biomolecules. We recently developed an antioxidant gene therapy, based on superoxide dismutase, which confers cardioprotection against myocardial infarction and has the potential to protect high-risk patients against the ravages of heart attack.

Selected Publications

  • Naresh N, Chen X, Moran E, Tian Y, French B, Epstein F. Repeatability and variability of myocardial perfusion imaging techniques in mice: Comparison of arterial spin labeling and first-pass contrast-enhanced MRI. Magnetic resonance in medicine. 2015. PMID: 26190350
  • Tian Y, Linden J, French B, Yang Z. Atorvastatin at reperfusion reduces myocardial infarct size in mice by activating eNOS in bone marrow-derived cells. PloS one. 2014;9(12): e114375. PMID: 25470018 | PMCID: PMC4254980
  • Katwal A, Konkalmatt P, Piras B, Hazarika S, Li S, John Lye R, Sanders J, Ferrante E, Yan Z, Annex B, French B. Adeno-associated virus serotype 9 efficiently targets ischemic skeletal muscle following systemic delivery. Gene therapy. 2013;20(9): 930-8. PMID: 23535898 | PMCID: PMC3758463
  • Li Y, Garson C, Xu Y, Helm P, Hossack J, French B. Serial ultrasound evaluation of intramyocardial strain after reperfused myocardial infarction reveals that remote zone dyssynchrony develops in concert with left ventricular remodeling. Ultrasound in medicine & biology. 2011;37(7): 1073-86. PMID: 21640480 | PMCID: PMC3119373
  • French B, Li Y, Klibanov A, Yang Z, Hossack J. 3D perfusion mapping in post-infarct mice using myocardial contrast echocardiography. Ultrasound in medicine & biology. 2006;32(6): 805-15. PMID: 16785003
  • Yang Z, Day Y, Toufektsian M, Xu Y, Ramos S, Marshall M, French B, Linden J. Myocardial infarct-sparing effect of adenosine A2A receptor activation is due to its action on CD4+ T lymphocytes. Circulation. 2006;114(19): 2056-64. PMID: 17060376