Dr Rockey's Research
Dr Rockey lab's current research is on the development of new therapies for patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension, with the hopes of better understanding the cell and molecular wounding response of the liver to injury. His laboratory focuses on 2 specific areas: liver fibrosis and endothelial cell phenotype following liver injury. It was initially demonstrated that a key player in liver fibrosis is the hepatic stellate cell that transforms into a myofibroblast, a cell type with smooth muscle-like features that contracts and additionally produces extracellular matrix proteins. The lab has also shown that following liver injury the stellate cells exaggerated contractility, and seem to constrict liver sinusoids, leading to increased intrahepatic vascular resistance typical of portal hypertension. The lab's second area of research is a remarkable endothelial cell phenotype following liver injury in which nitric oxide (NO) production is impaired due to a defect in endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) function. The initial event in the sequence is increased G-protein-coupled receptor kinase-2 (GRK-2) expression. GRK-2 responds to this by inhibiting the activity of Akt, the kinase necessary for activation of eNOS.
Dr. Rockey has also developed a logistic model predictor for in-hospital mortality in patients with cirrhosis and upper gastrointestinal bleeding. If you would like to use the model, please click on the link below.