Rockey Lab Image

Rockey Basic Research Lab

Don C. Rockey, M.D.Don C. Rockey, M.D.

Department of Medicine

The Rockey laboratory focuses on discovering new pathways important in patients with liver disease, particularly focused on translating findings from the bench to the clinic. Laboratory members study molecular mechanisms of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension. The research centered on liver fibrosis has focused on the hepatic stellate cell. This cell, which normally functions as a primary storage site for vitamin A, undergoes a transformation when the liver is injured. This transformation causes stellate cells to become myofibroblasts, a cell type with smooth muscle-like features that contracts and additionally produces extracellular matrix (fibrosis) proteins. Understanding how these cells behave in the injured liver has led to several translational studies in humans.

The other major area of research involves cell and molecular aspects of portal hypertension. He and laboratory members have demonstrated that a key event underlying portal hypertension is that endothelial cell function becomes abnormal after injury.  In particular, sinusoidal endothelial cells exhibit a defect in endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity that appears to be mediated by a unique set of signaling molecules, the function of which many are dysregulated after liver injury. The laboratory has made many seminal contributions in the area, and the group has additionally translated several of the laboratory discoveries to the clinic.


Google Scholar

PubMed Collection

Senior Author Publications:

Senior Author PubMed Collection (senior author publications are most often associated with mentored projects)