Mehran Haidari, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor (Cardiology)
The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
Senior Research Scientist
Texas Heart Institute
Dr. Haidari graduated from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran with a doctorate degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences in 1994. After completing his doctoral studies, Dr. Haidari remained at Tehran University for four more years, receiving his Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry. He then pursued two post-doctoral study programs at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. His first program focused on lipoprotein metabolism in diabetes, followed by a second one in vascular biology of atherosclerosis. Dr. Haidari became a Research Scientist at the Texas Heart Institute in 2004 and an Assistant Professor in Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 2007.
Dr. Haidari’s current research focuses on molecular mechanisms by which actin cytoskeleton regulates paracellular and transcellular permeability of endothelial cells. Rearrangement of actin cytoskeleton in endothelial cells and monocytes are crucial for infiltration of leukocytes to atherosclerotic lesions. Dr. Haidari`s group studies the signaling cascades mediating alterations of actin cytoskeleton in monocytes and endothelial cells during adhesion and transendothelial migration of monocytes. Dr. Haidari’s findings indicate that phosphorylation of myosin light chain is the key event in actin cytoskeleton remodeling and leads to activation of monocytes and endothelial cells during recruitment of leukocytes to atherosclerotic lesions. In addition to cholesterol lowering effects, statins possess pleiotropic effects including anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Dr. Haidari`s group also explores the underlying molecular mechanisms of pleiotropic effects of statins, in particular the antiviral effects. Using influenza virus as a system model to study endocytosis Dr. Haidari`s group demonstrated that myosin light chain phosphoryation is critical for endocytosis of influenza. Based on Dr. Haidari`s studies, the antiviral effects of statins are attributable to inhibition of myosin light chain phosphorylation.