Researcher | Research Overview
Dr. McCully’s research focuses on the mechanisms and subcellular localization of the biochemical and molecular events contributing to myocardial cell death. In particular, his lab has investigated the discriminant and/or coordinate mechanisms leading to ischemia/reperfusion injury in the neonate, child, mature and aged male and female with particular emphasis on the development of novel and specific cardioprotective protocols.
Recently he has developed a novel approach to cardioprotection using autologous mitochondrial transplantation. His research has demonstrated that transplantation of autogeneic mitochondria into the ischemic zone of the myocardium during early reperfusion significantly enhances post-ischemic functional recovery. These studies have shown that the transplanted mitochondria act externally and then are internalized by myocardial cells to provide myocellular rescue and cardioprotection. The transplanted mitochondria upregulate cytokines associated with enhanced post-infarct cardiac function and improvement of cardiac remodeling and upregulate protein pathways associated with the generation of precursor metabolites for energy and cellular respiration with no immune or auto-immune response. The transplanted mitochondria are internalized through actin-dependent endocytosis and rescue cell function by increasing ATP content and oxygen consumption rate. Significantly, he has demonstrated that internalized mitochondria replace depleted or damaged mitochondrial (mt) DNA.