Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

University of Texas Medical Branch


Faculty

Ken Fujise, M.D.

Dr. Fujise is a physician-scientist who focuses on the elucidation of the role of fortilin in two major cardiac disorders—heart failure and atherosclerosis. As an actively practicing cardiologist, Dr. Fujise sees many patients with coronary artery disease (CAD)—the most serious complication of atherosclerosis and with heart failure (HF)—the most prevalent cardiovascular condition in the US. Dr. Fujise realizes that despite many progresses in the HF and CAD therapeutics, molecular targeted therapies are called for to better deal with these debilitating cardiac diseases. As a scientist, Dr. Fujise has focused on fortilin. In Kyoto University, Dr. Fujise underwent his initial basic science training as a medical student, working in the laboratories of Shosaku Numa and Tasuku Honjo. After completing his internal medicine and general cardiology training, Dr. Fujise underwent a 3-year research fellowship at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM, James Willerson, Ferid Murad and Tom Caskey) at University of Texas-Houston. There, he performed yeast-two-hybrid screening and identified fortilin as a protein partner of MCL1, a Bcl-2 family member protein. His lab was first to report the interaction between fortilin and MCL1. His lab characterized fortilin and found for the first time that fortilin protects cells against apoptosis. Here at UTMB, the Fujise Lab continues to investigate fortilin at molecular, cellular, and whole-animal levels with strong intention to develop molecular targeted therapies of CAD and HF using fortilin as a molecular target. Graduate students in the Fujise Lab may be engaged in the further characterization of fortilin at the molecular, cellular, or whole-animal level. At a molecular level, the laboratory is fully equipped to study protein-protein interactions with numerous reagents related to fortilin. At a cellular level, the laboratory has generated a number of cell lines—both overexpression and knockdown—to study fortilin's biological functions. Further, the laboratory is one of the 3 laboratories that possess fortilin-deficient mice. Finally, the laboratory has established robust animal models of atherosclerosis and heart failure. Graduate students who are interested in apoptosis regulation and fortilin are welcome to rotate at the Fujise Laboratory.

 

Education and Training
Doctor of Medicine, Kyoto University, School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan (1987)
Internship and Junior Residency, Metropolitan Hospital Center-New York Medical College (1987-1989)
Senior Residency, Beth Israel Medical Center-Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (1990)
Cardiology Fellowship, Thomas Killip MD Division of Cardiology at Beth Israel Medical Center-Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (1990-1993)
Research Fellowship, Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention and Treatment of Human Diseases (1993-1996)
Interventional Cardiology Fellowship, University of Texas-Houston and Memorial Hermann Hospital (1995-1996).

Honor and Awards

  • Trainee, NIH National Research Service Award (PI, James T. Willerson, MD)
  • Scientist Development Award, American Heart Association
  • NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (KO8)
  • Established Investigator Award, American Heart Association
  • Master Teacher Award, Dean’s Office, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Patents
  • Methods And Compositions Relating To Fortilin, An Anti-Apoptotic Molecule, And Modulators Of Fortilin,USPO: 10/021,753 (Awarded)
  • Composition and Method for Treatment and Prevention of Restenosis, USPO: 10/448,664 (Awarded)