Dr Karen E Porter

Dr Karen E Porter

Reader in Cardiovascular Cell Biology

0113 343 4806

Summary: Investigating aberrant cellular phenotype and function in cardiovascular remodelling and diabetes.

Location: Division of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research

Teaching Commitments: MBChB Year 1 - Introduction to Medical Science (MEDI1216) - Lecturer for Membranes, Lipids and Signalling. MBChB Year 1 - Research, Evaluation and Special Studies 1 (MEDI1213) - RESS Tutor. Intercalated BSc in Clinical Sciences - lecturer and project supervisor (since 2005) Personal Tutor (Years 1 & 2 undergraduate Medicine). Postgraduate Tutor



BSc (Hons), Leeds; PhD, Leicester

Research Area

One of the key strengths of my research is the capacity to cultivate and study the phenotype and function of cardiovascular cells directly from human tissue. In collaboration with David O'Regan (consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, LGI) we are able to study vascular smooth muscle,  endothelial cells and cardiac fibroblasts from different patients, up to 25% of whom have diabetes. Diabetes is an escalating problem worldwide; importantly individuals with diabetes are at significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the non-diabetic population. Even when blood glucose levels are effectively controlled by drug therapies, diabetic patients still suffer cardiovascular complications such as atherosclerosis and restenosis, suggesting that factors other than hyperglycaemia are involved. Our present studies aim to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to increased cardiovascular risk in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and understand their significantly poorer outcomes after vascular interventions. This is facilitated by our ability to compare in a side-by-side manner, vascular tissues and their component cells (endothelium, smooth muscle) from patients with and without diabetes. Our preliminary evidence points to malfunction of  key signalling pathways and altered molecular pathways caused by the underlying metabolic abnormalities of T2DM and not the elevation of glucose itself.  Establishing the underlying mechanisms has significant potential to translate into a completely new area of early therapy for patients before diagnosis of overt T2DM.

Widening Participation

Invited talks at BHF fundraising events - increasing awareness of the importance of BHF funding to cardiovascular research.

BBC TV News interview on our laboratory work with statin drugs

BBC Radio Leeds live interview on work recently published

Year 10 work experience students