P4: The role of cGMP signaling for transdifferentiation of smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis


To analyze how distinct components of the NO/cGMP signaling pathway affect the transdifferentiation potential of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in vascular disease.

Questions and Methods

cGMP and Atherosclerosis

Boston Internship

Huang Lab

In the Huang lab in Boston, the doctoral researchers will

  1. be trained in stroke models, e.g. the middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model, and
  2. learn about the vascular phenotypes of novel eNOS mutant mouse models (knockout and knock-in mice carrying phosphomimetic and unphosphorylatable mutations at S1176).

The process of transdifferentiation of SMCs in atherosclerosis and in the brain after stroke will be analyzed thereafter in Boston and in Tübingen.

Boston Co-mentor

Prof. Paul Huang, MD PhD

Link to boston researcher lab

Doctoral Student

Malte Roeßing

Malte Roeßing did his undergraduate studies in Biology at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, where he was especially interested in protein biochemistry. Therefore, he did his bachelor’s thesis in the department of plant biochemistry, which dealt with the characterization of protein with an unknown function. In his master’s studies at Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, he focused on molecular biomedicine. Due to his rising interest in the biochemical and pharmaceutical research field, he decided to do his master’s thesis at the Bayer AG in Wuppertal in the Biochemistry Department of the Institute Lead Discovery. The combination of the research on atherosclerosis with investigation of the important cGMP signaling system is a unique challenge for him as a young scientist. Thus, he decided to take up this challenge as a doctoral student of the GRK 2381 “cGMP: From Bedside to Bench” in the group of Dr. Susanne Feil. Here he is investigating the role of the cGMP signaling pathway in disease models of atherosclerosis.

Key Publications

Feil S, Hofmann F, Feil R. SM22alpha modulates vascular smooth muscle cell phenotype during atherogenesis. Circ Res. 2004;94:863-5

Feil S, Fehrenbacher B, Lukowski R, Essmann F, Schulze-Osthoff K, Schaller M, Feil R. Transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells to macrophage-like cells during atherogenesis. Circ Res. 2014a;115:662-7