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Tamanna Islam, MSc

Islam Tamanna PDDS24
Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery, 2024 University of Utah

Targeting Cell-Specific Durotaxis to Develop First-in-Class Anti-Durotactic Therapeutics to Treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is known to progress through pathological recruitment of stromal cells and subsequent activation or dedifferentiation of vascular remodeling. We have recently identified a novel mechanism in which diseased pulmonary cells, such as diseased smooth muscle cells (SMCs), are recruited to the distal arteries via “durotaxis”. Here, we explore the molecular mechanisms driving SMC-specific durotaxis in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial muscularization in PAH, which characterized by the presence of steep stiffness gradients. We aim to develop a novel anti-durotactic drug as effective therapeutic for treating early stage arterial muscularization both in vitro and in vivo. These anti-durotactic therapies may emerge as first-in-class drugs that can target durotaxis pathways in PAH disease.

I am incredibly honored to receive a Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery from the PhRMA Foundation. The Foundation’s support and belief in my project continue to motivate my pursuit of innovative approaches to drug discovery.

Tamanna Islam