University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

CaMKII.png The tetradecameric assembly of the association domain of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), created from 1hkx.pdb using PyMol.

Welcome to Dr. Anderson's lab!

The Anderson laboratory studies cellular signaling mechanisms in heart.  Our primary focus is on the multifunctional Ca2+ and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). Our laboratory identified CaMKII as an important proarrhythmic and procardiomyopathic signal.  These studies have provided proof of concept evidence motivating active efforts in biotech and the pharmaceutical industry to develop therapeutic CaMKII inhibitory drugs to treat heart failure and arrhythmias.  CaMKII is activated by increased intracellular Ca2+ and oxidation.   Diverse ‘upstream’ signals, including catecholamines and the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathway increase CaMKII activity.  CaMKII is multifunctional because it has multiple ‘downstream’ targets.  CaMKII catalyzed phosphorylation in myocardium appears to coordinate activity of many or most voltage-gated ion channels, Ca2+ homeostatic proteins and gene transcription events.  Under physiological conditions, CaMKII is important for excitation-contraction coupling and fight or flight increases in heart rate.  However, myocardial CaMKII is excessively activated during disease conditions where it contributes to loss of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, membrane hyperexcitability, premature cell death, and hypertrophic and inflammatory transcription.  These downstream targets appear to contribute coordinately and decisively to heart failure and arrhythmias.  Recently, we have developed evidence that CaMKII also participates in asthma.  Our laboratory is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the American Asthma Foundation and the Fondation Leducq. 

Our laboratory efforts are highly collaborative and involve undergraduate assistants, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty.  Presently, our key areas of focus are

  1. Ion channel biology and arrhythmias
  2. Cardiac pacemaker physiology and disease
  3. Molecular physiology of CaMKII
  4. Myocardial metabolism
  5. Inflammation and matrix biology

Lab group photo

Front (l to r): Tyler Rasmussen, Mark Anderson
Midle: Mei-ling Joiner, Andrew Ackell, Zhan Gao, Jinying Yang, Xiaogun Guan, Betsy Luczak, Dee Gansemer, Yuejin Wu,
Back: Adam Rokita, William Kutschke, Omar Jaffer, Duane Hall, Olha Koval