Arjun Deb, MD

Arjun Deb, M.D. 

Associate Professor, Cardiology; Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

Bio

Arjun Deb, M.D., treats patients with advanced heart disease and studies the basic mechanisms that regulate wound healing in the heart and other organs. Through this research, he strives to develop innovative treatment methods for a wide range of common diseases that are associated with wounds not healing properly, such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease and heart attacks.

Reversing or preventing scar tissue from forming after a heart attack remains one of the major challenges of cardiovascular medicine; scar tissue is a leading cause of irregular heartbeat, heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Deb aims to reduce heart failure rates by developing new drugs that reduce scarring as well as cell therapies that utilize heart stem cells to generate new heart muscle cells instead of scar tissue.

Deb and his collaborators have discovered that cardiac fibroblasts—the heart cells that form scars—present in the heart’s injured regions have the ability to become endothelial cells, which form blood vessels. Delving deeper into this phenomenon, Deb discovered a drug that can encourage this transition during a limited period of time after a heart attack occurs, which led to less scarring and more complete healing of the heart in pre-clinical studies. Deb is now evaluating whether this drug could be used to benefit humans.

In search of new ways to reverse heart damage, Deb has studied the life cycle of scars. Though this work, Deb discovered that as scars age, they calcify, or harden. Deb then identified a protein that occurs in abnormally high levels in the heart during calcification. In pre-clinical studies, blocking this protein with a drug prevented calcification of heart muscle tissue. Deb and his collaborators are advancing this work by examining whether blocking this protein can prevent calcification in other parts of the body, including in the kidneys, heart valves and blood vessels.

Deb earned his medical degree at the University of Calcutta, India, and completed his residency in internal medicine and research and clinical fellowships in cardiovascular diseases at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He completed an additional research fellowship in cardiology and stem cell biology at Duke University Medical Center.
 

Publications

Honors & Affiliations

Honors

  • Elected member, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2018
  • Bernard and Joan Marshall Research Excellence Award, British Society of Cardiovascular Research, 2016
  • Louis N. and Arnold M. Katz Basic Science Research Prize, American Heart Association, 2010

Affiliations

  • Cardiovascular Research Laboratory
  • Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology Program
  • Molecular Biology Institute
  • American Heart Association
  • American College of Cardiology
  • Medical and Molecular Pharmacology