Kyungsun Heo, Ph.D.

Kyungsun Heo, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute
211 Bailey Road
West Henrietta, NY 14586

Lab: (585) 276-9846

Research Bio

My study is to pursue the better understanding the molecular mechanism of vascular disease like atherosclerosis and its treatment. I have been studied the important role of p53 and ERK5 SUMOylation on regulating disturbed flow-mediated endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction via downregulation of SENP2, which is a SUMO-specific protease. This study provided a mechanistic framework to the well-accepted observation that disturbed flow induces endothelial dysfunction and accelerating atherosclerosis formation. Recently, I have started to determine the mechanism of atherosclerosis formation, especially vulnerable plaque formation in the advanced lesions focusing on the monocyte/macrophage biology.

I found the possible involvement of macrophage ERK5 in this process and genetic deletion of ERK5 in the macrophage showed an increase in necrotic core and atherosclerosis formation via defective phagocytic clearance (efferocytosis), which has been shown an important role in vulnerable plaque formation. I hope that this study will reveal new insight into ERK5 regulation in macrophages in advanced lesion of atherosclerosis to find a novel therapeutic target.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Winner of ATVB Early Career Investigator Award | American Heart Associate 2013
The Melvin L. Marcus Young Investigator Award | AHA scientific sessions | LA convention center, USA 2012
Scientist Development Grant (SDG) Award (Role: PI) 2012 - 2016
Travel award | American Heart Associate Scientific Sessions | Chicago, USA 2010
Travel award from annual meeting | Keystone symposium | Vancouver, Canada 2009
Travel award and Post presentation award | NAVBO Vasculata meeting | Cleveland, USA 2009

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 18 available »

2014 Jul 8
Heo KS, Cushman HJ, Akaike M, Woo CH, Wang X, Qiu X, Fujiwara K, Abe J. "ERK5 Activation in Macrophages Promotes Efferocytosis and Inhibits Atherosclerosis." Circulation.. 2014 Jul 8; 130(2):180-91. Epub 2014 Apr 28.
2014 Apr 30
Heo KS, Fujiwara K, Abe JI. "Shear Stress and Atherosclerosis." Molecules and cells.. 2014 Apr 30; Epub 2014 Apr 30.
2013 Mar 15
Heo KS, Chang E, Le NT, Cushman HJ, Yeh ET, Fujiwara K, Abe JI. "De-SUMOylation enzyme of sentrin/SUMO-specific protease 2 regulates disturbed flow-induced SUMOylation of ERK5 and p53 that leads to endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis." Circulation research.. 2013 Mar 15; 112(6):911-23. Epub 2013 Feb 04.
2013 Feb
Heo KS, Chang E, Takei Y, Le NT, Woo CH, Sullivan MA, Morrell C, Fujiwara K, Abe JI. "Phosphorylation of protein inhibitor of activated STAT1 (PIAS1) by MAPK-activated protein kinase-2 inhibits endothelial inflammation via increasing both PIAS1 transrepression and SUMO E3 ligase activity." Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology.. 2013 Feb; 33(2):321-9. Epub 2012 Nov 29.
2013 Jan 29
Le NT, Heo KS, Takei Y, Lee H, Woo CH, Chang E, McClain C, Hurley C, Wang X, Li F, Xu H, Morrell C, Sullivan MA, Cohen MS, Serafimova IM, Taunton J, Fujiwara K, Abe JI. "A crucial role for p90RSK-mediated reduction of ERK5 transcriptional activity in endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis." Circulation.. 2013 Jan 29; 127(4):486-99. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Current Appointments

Research Assistant Professor - Department of Medicine, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Pharmacy | Korea-Chungnam National University, Daejeon2007
MS | Molecular Biochemistry | Korea-Chonnam National University2004
BS | Animal Science | Korea-Chonnam National University2001

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Post-doc. fellow, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute University of Rochester, NY, USA 2011