Immuno-Cardio Group

The cutting-edge of immunology and cardiovascular diseases


Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death globally. Scientists at UConn Health formed the Immuno-Cardio Group to harness the power of different disciplines, such as vascular biology, immunology, genetics, nutrition, and aging, in the quest to solve this major health care problem. The group is using multiple state-of-the-art transomics approaches, including computational and animal models to lead the nation in discovering new solutions to this unmet clinical need.


Ji-Young Lee, Ph.D., FAHA

Welcome to our new member, Dr. Ji-Young Lee from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Storrs. Dr. Lee's expertise in obesity/fatty liver will further enhance our ICG mission.

Beiyan Zhou, Ph.D.
Congratulations to Beiyan for receiving the Transformational Project Award from the American Heart Association
Ji-Young Lee, Ph.D., FAHA
Congratulations to Patrick for receiving the Innovative Award from the American Heart Association

Mark the Date

September 13, 2019
The first joint conference between the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the UConn School of Medicine. The joint conference will be held at the Student Union in Storrs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2019 Fall Meeting Schedule

September 20, 2019 – Presenter: Ji-Young Lee

October 25, 2019 – Presenter: Beiyan Zhou

November 15, 2019 – Presenter: Pat Murphy

December 6, 2019 – Presenter: Ming Xu

Active Members

Ji-Young Lee, Ph.D., FAHA

Ji-Young Lee, Ph.D., FAHA

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Research Interests: Fatty Liver Disease, Obesity, Energy Metabolism, Inflammation, Histone Deacetylases, Nutrition

View Bio

Patrick Murphy, Ph.D.

Patrick Murphy, Ph.D.

Center for Vascular Biology, UConn Health, Farmington, CT

Research Interests: Endothelium, Subendothelial Matrix, Alternative Splicing, Atherogenesis, Shear Stress Response

Murphy Lab

Annabelle Rodriguez-Oquendo, M.D.

Annabelle Rodriguez-Oqendo, M.D.

Center for Vascular Biology, UConn Health, Farmington, CT

Research Interests: Chromatin Capture, Lipids, Genomics, Immune Checkpoint Inhibition, Atherosclerosis

Rodriguez Lab

Blanka Rogina, Ph.D.

Blanka Rogina, Ph.D.

Genetics and Genome Sciences, UConn Health, Farmington

Research Interests: Metabolism, Aging, Drosophila Melanogaster

View Bio

Anthony Vella, Ph.D.

Anthnoy Vella, Ph.D.

Department of Immunology, UConn Health, Farmington, CT

Research Interests: T Cell Immunity, Costimulation, Adjuvants, Cytokines, Atherosclerosis

View Bio

Ming Xu, Ph.D.

Ming Xu, Ph.D.

Center on Aging, UConn Health, Farmington, CT

Research Interests: Aging, Cellular Senescence, Frailty, Metabolism, Bone Biology

View Bio

Beiyan Zhou, Ph.D.

Beiyan Zhou, Ph.D.

Department of Immunology, UConn Health, Farmington, CT

Research Interests: microRNA, Macrophage, Adipose Tissue Immunology, Obesity, Metabolism, Atherosclerosis, Single-cell RNA-seq

Zhou Lab | Twitter | MacSpectrum: A Creative System to Annotate Macrophage Function

Affiliate Members

Chuan Li

Antoine Menoret

Lili Qu

Former Members and Affiliates

Former Members

Alison Bloom Kohan

Department of Nutritional Science, Storrs, CT

Research Interests: Intestine, Lipoproteins, ApoC-III, Tregs

Heading to University of Pittsburgh, September 1, 2019

Kohan Bio | Twitter

Former Affiliated Members

Diana Golden (2015-2018)

Maria Xu (2016-2019)

Recent Publications

Single-cell transcriptomics–based MacSpectrum reveals macrophage activation signatures in diseases
Li C, Menoret A, Farragher C, Ouyang Z, Bonin C, Holvoet P, Vella AT, Zhou B. JCI Insight. 2019 Apr 16. PubMed PMID: 30990466.

Direct CD137 costimulation of CD8 T cells promotes retention and innate-like function within nascent atherogenic foci.
Xu MM, Ménoret A, Nicholas SE, Gunther S, Sundberg EJ, Zhou B, Rodriguez A, Murphy PA*, Vella AT*. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2019 April. Pubmed PMID 30978132.

Activated T effector seeds: Cultivating atherosclerotic plaque through alternative activation.
Xu MM, Murphy PA, Vella AT. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2019 Mar 29. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00148.2019. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30925075.

Understanding how combinatorial targeting of TLRs and TNFR family costimulatory members promote enhanced T cell responses.
Shinde P, Bharat V, Rodriguez-Oquendo A, Zhou B, Vella AT. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2018 Oct;18(10):1073-1083. PubMed PMID: 30169979.

Endothelial FN (Fibronectin) Deposition by α5β1 Integrins Drives Atherogenic Inflammation.
Al-Yafeai Z, Yurdagul A Jr, Peretik JM, Alfaidi M, Murphy PA, Orr AW. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2018 Nov;38(11):2601-2614. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.118.311705. PubMed PMID: 30354234

Alternative RNA splicing in the endothelium mediated in part by Rbfox2 regulates the arterial response to low flow.
Murphy, Patrick A.; Butty, Vincent L.; Boutz, Paul L., Begum, Shahinoor; Kimble, Amy L.; Sharp, Phillip A; Burge, Christopher B.; Hynes, Richard O. eLife 2018 Jan 2;7. pii: e29494.