Dr. R. John Solaro - Magic Bullets, Precision Medicine, and Therapies for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

April 18, 2019

Time: Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 10:30pm

Location: SSB7172

Presenter: Dr. R. John Solaro

Affiliation: Distinguished University Professor
Director, Center for Cardiovascular Research
University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine

Host: Dr. Glen Tibbits

Title: Magic Bullets, Precision Medicine, and Therapies for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy


There is an unmet need in the development of therapies for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) commonly linked to mutations in the cardiac sarcomeric/cytoskeletal complex, and a leading cause of death in the young. A major issue is that in some cases after instigation of the triggering biophysical defect imposed by the mutations, there is an irreversible progression of remodeling of the heart and vascular system leading to maladaptive hypertrophy, arrythmias, and sudden death. One therapeutic approach, with agents in clinical trials, is to target the initial biophysical signal, often an increase in sarcomere Ca-response leasing to diastolic abnormalities. A second approach is with agents that have pleiotropic effects improving diastolic abnormalities while also improving associated stresses on the vascular and endothelial systems. Focus in this presentation will be on novel signaling via p21 activated kinase (PAK 1) and effects of FTY 720 (Fingolimod) an immune-modulator with effects on the heart, vascular system and endothelium. There will also be a consideration of variations in the clinical course of HCM including the lack of symptoms in some carriers, that call for personalized therapeutic approaches couched in precision medicine.


Institution and Location



Field of study

University of Cincinnati, College of Pharmacy, Cincinnati, OH




University of Pittsburgh, College of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA



Medical Physiology

University of Birmingham, Dept of Biochemistry, Birmingham, England

British-American Heart Fellow


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Instructor (1972-73); Assistant Professor (1973-77), Dept of Physiology, Med College of Virginia. 

British-American Heart Fellow (1975-76), Dept of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, England.  Associate Professor (1977); Professor (1981), Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH.

Senior International Fellow of the Fogarty Foundation (1987), Department of Physiology, University College, London, England. 

Co-Director of the UIC Center for Cardiovascular Research (2003-2010); Director (2016- )

Professor (1988-present) and Head (1988-2015), Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), College of Medicine at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Appointed Distinguished University Professor (1998), University of Illinois System.