Assistant Professor of Surgery, Section of Vascular Surgery
Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
COBRE Developing Investigator
Cardiovascular Center of Excellence
LSUHSC School of Medicine – New Orleans
Dr. Hernan Bazan, a native of New Orleans, graduated from medical school at Georgetown University and conducted biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1996 – 1998. He did his surgery residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and spent two years at Yale University, where he did a fellowship in vascular and endovascular surgery. He is board-certified in general surgery and vascular surgery. He joined the faculty at LSUHSC School of Medicine in July 2007 and is a member of the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, which has fostered his research into atherosclerotic plaques and the causes of plaque rupture and instability.
COBRE Research Summary:
Blockages in the carotid artery from atherosclerotic plaques are an important cause of stroke, contributing to at least 250,000 cases of debilitating strokes each year in the United States. The plaques that form in the carotid artery, as well as the coronary arteries, are usually termed “stable” if they cause no symptoms and “unstable” if they rupture and cause a stroke or heart attack. In the last few years, increasing evidence has mounted pointing to inflammation as a cause of plaque instability. Our research focuses on identifying inflammatory molecules that cause atherosclerotic plaques to become unstable. We study plaques removed from patients undergoing carotid artery surgery at LSUHSC-affiliated hospitals, such as University Hospital and Touro Infirmary.
Using state-of-the-art molecular biology and biochemistry techniques, we are identifying candidate molecules which may be targeted for therapy to stabilize atherosclerotic plaques, thereby reducing plaque rupture. Furthermore, by identifying novel molecules involved in plaque instability and rupture, it may help identify which patients with atherosclerosis are ‘at risk’ for a future event, such as a stroke or heart attack.