Luminita Pojoga
Assistant Investigator, Non-Resident Member

Harvard University & BWH

Luminita Pojoga is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Physiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She has a PhD from Clemson University (2003) and a MS from Claude Bernard University Lyon I, France (1997).

The overall focus of Prof. Pojoga's laboratory is to decipher molecular and physiological mechanisms of cardiovascular and metabolic dysfunction, and to identify novel therapeutic targets for these conditions. In a translational approach, she uses cells, transgenic animals and naturally occurring genetic variations in humans to assess mechanisms of cardiometabolic disease. She found that genetic variation in the human caveolin-1 (cav-1) gene (leading to cav-1 insufficiency) or cav-1 deficiency in mice associate with severe cardiometabolic impairments, due in part to excessive aldosterone signaling. Treatment with an MR blocker improves cardiovascular and metabolic function in cav-1 KO mice, and therefore may be particularly valuable in individuals with low cav-1 expression, as identified by cav-1 genotype. Another example from Prof. Pojoga's translational research program is the study of beta-2 adrenergic receptor (B2AR) mechanisms of adrenal steroid production. Starting from a human B2AR risk allele that associates with salt sensitive hypertension and increased aldosterone levels - she has now found that dietary sodium selectively influences coupling between B2AR and G-protein subtypes in the adrenal, thus triggering activation of alternate salt-sensitive B2AR pathways. Prof. Pojoga's ongoing studies are aimed at understanding underlying mechanisms of CVM disease associated with variants and finally to identify personalized treatment strategies for individuals that carry variants such as the cav-1 and B2AR risk alleles.