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Elena V. Galkin , PhD

    • Title:
    • Associate Professor

    • Role:
    • Faculty

    • Faculty Appointments:
    • Additional Certifications:
    • Focus Areas:
    • Atherosclerosis

    • Office Location:
    • Lewis Hall

    • Undergraduate Education:
    • Graduate Education:
      • Ph.D. - Institute for Experimental Medicine, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    • Postdoctoral Education:
      • Postdoctoral Training - National Institute for Medical Research, MRC, London, UK
      • Postdoctoral Training - University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
    • Medical Education:
    • Residency:
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    • Affiliation(s):
    • Research Interests:
    • Our laboratory is interested in the involvement of the immune system in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. This is a disease of large vessels that is characterized by a formation of atherosclerotic plaques consisting of necrotic core, calcified regions, accumulated modified lipids, inflamed smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, leukocytes and foam cells.

      Atherosclerosis is the most common pathological process that leads to cardiovascular diseases. In the past decade, a growing body of data shows that B and T cells, macrophages, NKT cells and dendritic cells participate in the development of atherosclerosis. This strongly suggests that the innate and adaptive immune systems are deeply involved in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. However, the exact mechanisms of the recruitment, activation, proliferation and retention of different types of immune cells within the aortic wall remain unclear.

      Our research focuses on the identification of the immune cell composition of the aortic wall under normal/non-inflamed conditions and during atherosclerosis, and the mechanisms of migration and retention of lymphocytes within the aortas. Recently we showed that L-selectin is at least partially responsible for the recruitment of lymphocytes into the aortic wall. We also demonstrated that the chemokine receptor CXCR6 regulates the homing of T cell subset into the atherosclerosis-prone aortic wall.

      Our laboratory is also interested in the mechanisms that lead to the formation of lymphoid-like structures within the aortas and local immune response during the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Understanding of immune reactions that participate in atherosclerosis and functions of aortic tertiary lymphoid structures will help to design new approaches towards the prevention and treatment of this disease.


      In addition to our work on the immune response during atherosclerosis, our laboratory has also become involved in the studies devoted understanding of mechanisms of diabetes-accelerated atherosclerosis. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are associated with accelerated atherosclerosis in patients, but the availability of mouse models to study connections between these two diseases has been limited. We develop a mouse model of insulin-signaling dependent accelerated atherosclerosis, and clearly demonstrated that the pre-diabetic state already accelerates the development of atherosclerosis. It will be important to further investigate roles of hyperinsulinemia and hyperlipidemia in atherosclerosis and dissect a role of the immune system, particularly T and B cells, in this model.

    • Primary Specialty:
    • Hospital:
    • Courses Taught:

      Biomedical Sciences Program Track: Molecular Integrative Biosciences (MIB)

       Small Groups

    • Current Projects:
    • Bio: