Associate Professor, Dr. Changwon Park is a new addition to the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. The major effort of his lab is to decipher the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms as to the successful generation of the cardiovascular constituents, namely endothelial, endocardium, cardiomyocytes, and hematopoietic cells that share the multipotent cardiovascular progenitors, FLK1 (also known as VEGFR2) expressing cells. Research reveals for the first time that ETV2 (also known as ER71), is a new member of the ETS transcription factor family and is the direct upstream regulator of cardiovascular genes and that ETV2 is indispensable for cardiovascular system development. Subsequently, his lab has shown that the dormant ETV2 in adult endothelial cells is reactivated to trigger the angiogenic program for vascular regeneration and tissue repair upon ischemic injury. Also demonstrated is that ETV2 alone can directly reprogram terminally differentiated non-endothelial cells into functional endothelial cells, inarguably supporting the notion that ETV2 is a highly specific and potent vasculo-angiogenic factor. This research has been supported by multiple major research institutes including NIH R01, AHA, and the March of Dimes Foundation. Dr. Park’s findings have been highlighted in leading journals including Cell Stem Cell, Blood, Circulation, Circ. Res., Development, and Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol.
Dr. Park joined the faculty April 2020, but already felt strongly about the cutting-edge cardiovascular research of the institution, especially the contributions of both the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology and the Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular Diseases and Sciences. Park says, “I am privileged to serve as a member of the faculty senate and enjoy working for the interests of the faculty, students and the campus as a whole to carry out the educational purposes of the university and raise creativity, innovation, and a pioneering spirit of LSU. I am happy to become a part of this community with hospitality and close collaboration and would like to continue my research together with all members to keep the high caliber research and nurturing education environment.” Dr. Park has done post-doctoral research and worked as an assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago and Emory University School of Medicine.