Mindong Ren, PhD
Assistant Professor, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
Dr. Ren came to BSF as a scientist with a background in the fruit-fly genetic model system and cellular biology. His seminal paper on the fruit-fly model of BTHS provided BSF with increased exposure to many varied scientific disciplines — an important step in expanding BTHS research. Dr. Ren´s research interests include the role of cardiolipin in health and disease and the pathogenic mechanism of BTHS. Dr. Ren and colleagues at New York Univeristy School of Medicine recently characterized the inducible tafazzin-knockdown transgenic mouse model and showed that it recapitulates all the salient features of the cardiomyopathy in BTHS (Phoon CKL, Acehan D, Schlame M, Stokes DL, Edelman-Novemsky I, Yu D, Xu Y, Viswanathan N, Ren M. Tafazzin knockdown in mice leads to a developmental cardiomyopathy with early diastolic dysfunction preceding myocardial noncompaction. J Am Heart Assoc 2012, 1:jah3-e000455). Now, he is carrying out systematic investigations of the pathogenic mechanism of BTHS-associated cardiomyopathy in this model. These will be significant because new understanding gained will not only elucidate the pathogenesis of BTHS but also shed light on the mechanisms of common diseases such as diabetic cardiomyopathy and heart failure, where cardiolipin deficiency has been implicated as an important contributing factor.
Dr. Ren´s research on BTHS has been funded by the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation and the NIH. In addition, Dr. Ren has been awarded three BSF research grants for work on the BTHS drosophila model, genetic suppressors and potential drug repositioning. He has attended our international conferences since 2006. He brought his two sons along with him in 2012, so that they could gain some first-hand knowledge about the important work their father does.