Kathryn J. Schunke, PhD


Kathryn J. Schunke, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Anatomy, Biochemistry & Physiology
Phone: (808) 692-1528
Fax: (808) 692-1966
Email: kschunke@hawaii.edu
Address: 651 Ilalo Street, BSB 211, Honolulu, HI 96813

Epigenetics in Cardiac Hypoxia Laboratory

Professor Kate Schunke’s research focuses on hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) in the cardiac and cerebrovascular systems.  HIF is a transcription factor and ‘master regulator’ of oxygen homeostasis in the body. It plays an important role in the physiology of the hypoxic response, enhancing angiogenesis, glycolytic metabolism, and cell survival. Clinical pathologies involving HIF are equally broad, including ischemic disease of the heart, extremities and cerebro-vasculature, and cancer angiogenesis.  Given the important role of oxygen signaling in the pathogenesis of these diseases, there is substantial clinical interest in factors that regulate HIF.  

It has recently been discovered that some of the chromatin modulatory machinery essential for proper development, maintenance and repair of the genome plays a previously unappreciated role in the pathogenesis of ischemic heart disease. Our current research focuses on understanding the epigenetic regulation of HIF in response to ischemic disease. Using a combination of animal, molecular and next-generation sequencing techniques, we aim to identify targets for new therapeutic approaches to ischemic heart disease.