Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Photo of Levitan, Irena

Irena Levitan, PhD

Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering AIMBE Fellow

College of Medicine


Building & Room:

COMRB 3097, MC 719

Office Phone:


Research Currently in Progress

Our goal is to elucidate biophysical molecular mechanisms of vascular dysfunction in hypercholesterolemia and dyslipidemia, focusing on ion channels, cytomechanics and mechanotransduction. Our work provided fundamental new understanding of cholesterol regulation of ion channels, paradoxical relationship between membrane and cellular biomechanics and provided significant novel insights into endothelial response to flow. On a mechanistic level, we focus on specific lipid-protein interactions addressing the following questions: (1) How cholesterol interacts with the channel proteins and how these interactions govern channel function; (2) How cholesterol-induced suppression of ion channels alters endothelial and vascular function; (3) How incorporation of oxidized lipids into the membrane initiates endothelial stiffening; (4) How endothelial stiffening contributes to vascular dysfunction. These questions are addressed by a combination of molecular modeling, molecular and cellular biology, electrophysiology, imaging and atomic force microscopy. In terms of the disease models, we study atherosclerosis, hypertension, and abnormal angiogenesis.