Our hearts are incredible machines, beating billions of times without pause during the average lifetime.   This remarkable feat is accomplished by a complex web of thousands of interactions across multiple biological layers:


  1. Polymorphisms on the genome influencing gene expression
  2. Genes interacting with one another within individual cells
  3. Cells signaling to one another within the heart
  4.  The heart communicating with other organs in the body.

The Rau lab works to understand these relationships through a combination of high-throughput assays and computational tools.  We work with large genetic reference populations such as the Collaborative Cross or Gene Tissue Expression cohort, applying systems genetics approaches to study how the heart functions and how it can fail.  We identify intermediate phenotypes and the genetic, transcriptomic, and metabolic levels.  We test our predictions using molecular biology and genetics approaches through both in vitro and in vivo systems.  Our insights shed light on how biological information is orchestrated on multiple levels to drive common, complex diseases as well as individual genes and mechanisms that drive phenotypic change.

Our lab handbook can be found here