The overall research focus of The Osei-Owusu lab is to understand the integration and regulation of cell signaling mechanisms that facilitate the physiological and pathophysiological effects of various hormones, neurotransmitters and mechanical stimuli in the cardiovascular and renal systems. Specifically, the lab studies signaling via heterotrimeric G proteins, which are mostly activated by G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Abnormal GPCR signaling is implicated in several human diseases and disorders such as depression, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension. In fact, more than half of all pharmacological agents for human diseases and disorders act on GPCRs to elicit their therapeutic effects. Therefore, studying how GPCR signaling is regulated in health and disease will lead to a better understanding of normal physiology and the pathogenesis of cardiovascular and renal diseases. Such knowledge is extremely important to improving health education, identifying novel drug targets and developing new drugs or improving existing treatment regimens.
The lab and its collaborators currently pursue several translational projects focused on pregnancy-related complications, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and spinal cord injury. The main research approaches of the lab are pharmacology and integrative physiology by using functioning systems of molecules, cells, tissues, organs, and genetically engineered animals that recapitulate human diseases. These tools enable the lab to focus on whole-body function as it relates to human health and disease.