School of Pharmacy

The University of Mississippi

Dr. James A. Stewart

Posted on: May 25th, 2017 by
Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Research Associate Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, BioMolecular Sciences
Faser Hall 307
662-915-2309
 

Professional Background:

  • Postdoc, LSU Health Sciences
  • Postdoc, University of South Carolina, School of Medicine
  • Ph.D., Auburn University
  • B.S., Auburn University

Appointment(s):

  • Associate Professor of Pharmacology
  • Research Associate Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Career Highlights:

Sudeshna Roy received her Bachelor in Science in chemistry from St. Stephen’s College in India and Master of Science in organic chemistry from University of Delhi in India. She obtained her Ph.D. in organic chemistry under the supervision of Professor Christopher Spilling at the University of Missouri-St. Louis working on total synthesis of complex natural products with anti-cancer activity. Her dissertation focused on “Studies toward Tetrahydrofuran-containing Natural Products: Total Synthesis of Amphidinolide C and Oxylipids”. Sudeshna expanded her focus to a more applied field of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery during her postdoctoral tenure under the mentorship of Professor Jeffrey Aubé at the University of Kansas and then at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During her postdoctoral tenure at the NIH-funded University of Kansas Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network Specialized Chemistry Center, she was instrumental in developing highly valuable small-molecule probes with picomolar inhibitory activities targeting the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mtPTP) and potential for further development as treatments for a variety of mtPTP-related diseases, such as, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease, to name a few. At the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, she worked on developing chemotherapeutic agents against Hu antigen R and Musashi-1 RNA-binding proteins that are overexpressed in breast and pancreatic cancers. She began her independent academic career in July 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

Research: 

The current focus of my laboratory is to investigate the role of cardiac fibroblasts in type 2 diabetes mellitus‐induced cardiomyopathic conditions. Using knockout mice with a targeted gene deletion for the leptin receptor (db/db) mice, alterations in basal activation of signaling cascades and expression of pro‐fibrotic markers within the myocardium of diabetic (db/db) mice compared to non‐diabetic (Db/db) littermates are being examined Ongoing studies have been undertaken to examine the effects of increased mechanical load, increased oxidative stress, and anti‐oxidant therapy on fibroblast function and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling in the diabetic heart. Another focus of the Stewart laboratory is the role extracellular matrix plays in diabetic remodeling. By utilizing three dimensional matrix technologies, we can simulate in vivo matrix‐cell interactions in an in vitro environment to understand cardiac cellular responses.

Although our overall focus is on the alterations the diabetic extracellular matrix imposes on heart function, we also are interested in dissecting the signaling cascade, Advanced Glycation Endproduct (AGE)-Receptor for AGEs (AGE-RAGE). Hyperglycemia-generated AGEs play a role in fibroblast-dependent ECM production and remodeling which impacts overall ECM stiffness. Our laboratory previously described hyperglycemia-mediated changes were accompanied by a switch to a profibrotic cardiac fibroblast (CF) phenotype or myofibroblast, which was characterized by increased secretion of collagen I levels, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and ECM profibrotic modulators as well as increased expression of RAGEs. Our results indicated these changes were responsible for a stiffer, less compliant left ventricle (LV) associated with increased myocardial fibrosis. These projects were funded by multiple investigator initiated NIH and DoD proposals.                 

See Dr. Jamie Stewart’s publications

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