Bowen Wang

Assistant Professor
Unit: School of Medicine
Department: Department of Surgery
Office location and address
MR4, Office 2058
409 Lane Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017
Bachelor of Medicine (BM), Peking University, 2012

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Our laboratory is focused on two fronts of our battle toward better treatment strategies of CVD and PVD. 

-Basic research directions: Vasculature is primarily constituted by vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC). Past studies have established the essential role of SMC in maintaining the homeostasis and hence healthy state of the circulation system. Under disease challenges such as diabetes or hypertension, these cells will undergo a phenotypic transition, which propels and perpetuates the local lesion development. Therefore, understanding such phenotypic transition holds the key for the development of next-generation cardiovascular medicines. Currently, we have identified the integrated stress (IRS) pathways as one of the most pivotal drivers of the pathophysiologies of vasculature. For example, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress (e.g., PERK kinase) and amino acid stress (e.g., GCN2 kinase) have both emerged as promising intervention targets for effective management of post-intervention occlusion, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), etc. Additionally, we recently identified two new players that are implicated in the pathogenesis of AAA and DVT, i.e., arginine citrullination and gut microbiome. This highly innovative, NIH-funded project holds tremendous significance in expanding our knowledge around PVD and could potentially usher in new therapeutic paradigms (e.g., dietary restriction of single amino acid) for non-surgical management of PVD.

-Translational research directions: In collaboration with prominent bioengineering laboratories, our cross-disciplinary team has been developing and optimizing innovative drug delivery platforms for highly effective yet safer management of local vascular lesions such as aneurysm, restenosis, etc. 

​Perivascular local drug delivery: We developed a unique hybrid platform comprised of thermosensitive hydrogel and slow-release nanoparticle. This technology, now named Pericelle, is specifically tailored for vascular surgeons that can be conveniently applied around vessels of interest immediately after the completion of open vascular procedures such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) or arteriovenus fistula (AVF) creation. Such application can sustain at least 12-month management of the vessel patency as evidenced in our recent studies.

Endovascular targeted drug delivery: Biomimetic nanomedicine is a highly innovative concept that incorporates cell-derived membrane vesicle coating and conventional nanoparticle technology. Through such biomimetic biointerfacing, we can grant the drug-loaded nanoparticles with unique properties that are intrinsic to the donor cell types. For example, we have successfully developed a platelet-mimetic nanocluster system that behaves just like platelet, such as great biocompatibility, lesion targeting selectivity, and efficient uptake by recipient cells. 

The Role of Amino Acid Starvation Response Kinase GCN2 in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Source: U.S. NIH Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute
April 01, 2022 – March 31, 2027