Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Institute for Academic Medicine
Associate Member, Research Institute
Dr. Nhat-Tu Le earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in microbiology from the University of Science in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 2008 she completed her PhD, also in microbiology, at Sungkyungkwan University College of Pharmacy in South Korea. The focus of her PhD training was to understand the roles of the Streptococcus pneumoniae heat shock protein ClpL in pneumococcal adherence to host cells. Her first study was published in 2007, describing the effects of Streptococcus pneumoniae heat shock protein ClpL (Caseinolytic protease L) in pathogenesis and translocation of virulence factors. Dr. Le’s postdoctoral training was under the guidance of Dr. Jun-ichi Abe at the University of Rochester studying the role of endothelial p90RSK-ERK5 complex in the heart and the vessel. Before joining Houston Methodist in July of 2017, Dr. Le was an assistant professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center since 2014.
Many agents used in cancer treatment result in significant vascular complications such as angina, myocardial infarction, venous or arterial thrombosis, and newly developed or worsened hypertension. These events are caused by the dysfunction of endothelial cells including apoptosis, inflammation, and decreased NO production. Nhat Tu Le’s research group has developed various systems to examine disturbed flow-induced signaling both in vitro and in vivo, and found the formation of a pro-inflammatory and pro-Senescence complex consisting of p90RSK, shelterin complex member, and p65. They have also found that endothelial ERK5 plays a role in regulating statin-induced anti-inflammatory effect using the mouse heart transplantation model. Recently, she discovered MAGI1 (the membrane-associated guanylate kinase-1) as an unexplored molecule that regulates both endothelial inflammation and anti-viral response. Our long-term goal is to establish an “Onco-cardiology” research field at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.