Philip M. Barger, MD, MS

Associate Professor of Medicine

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

My laboratory is interested in understanding the biology of nuclear hormone receptors in the heart. In particular, we have focused on the PPAR (Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor) family of transcription factors as well as PPAR-interacting proteins and their respective roles in molecular regulatory pathways that control cardiac energy metabolism and mitochondrial function in health and disease. As the heart relies primarily on fatty acids as the choice of substrate for ATP production, we have generally focused on mechanisms that control lipid handling and oxidation. The activity of the PPAR transcriptional complex and the capacity of the heart to normally oxidize fatty acids is altered in all forms of cardiac disease, including hypertrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, ischemia, diabetes, and aging. The laboratory employs a wide variety of molecular, cellular, and animal models to further our research goals of understanding the molecular mechanisms of PPAR regulation in cardiac disease. To this end, we have most recently focused on understanding the biology of PPAR Binding Protein (PBP/MED), a molecule that integrates signals through several transcriptional pathways to maintain normal mitochondrial number and function.