The overall aim of the Alexander lab is to understand the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension.
Since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and hypertension is the leading risk factor for death and disability, there is a tremendous opportunity to impact public health through better understanding the pathogenesis of hypertension and developing new treatment strategies. Currently, no therapies for hypertension directly target the immune system, however there is emerging evidence for a role of a variety of immune cells in disease pathogenesis and resultant end-organ damage.
We believe that there is great potential for immunotherapy-based approaches for hypertension to provide revolutionary advances over currently inadequate therapeutic options through co-opting the specificity and memory of the immune system. Our work intersects the fields of physiology, immunology, and cell biology and we are associated with the following Divisions and Institutes at Vanderbilt: