PlaqOmics meeting - different perspectives

As I´ve written before, we welcomed our partners from the PlaqOmics consortium in Lübeck for the first progress meeting. Pics can be found here:

For this blog post we decided that we will go for different perspectives from our team members.

During the 8th and 9th of April, we had a fruitful PlaqOmics meeting held in-house. There were great talks and of particular interest to me was Prof. Johan Björkegren’s, from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York titled “Bringing it together…Network and Data management”.
Where ‘bringing it together’ was discussed from the perspective of expression quantitative trait loci of regulatory gene networks and how they could be linked to a portion of coronary artery disease broad sense of heritability – this concept is very well explained with the figure1 shown below.

I enjoyed the WetLab talks especially how smooth muscle cells change their phenotype into other cell types including macrophage- or osteoblast-like cells. These changes may lead to stabilization or destabilization of the atherosclerotic plaques.
Not to forget the very entertaining evening from the magician. Really great idea with the magician.

Gary Owens, Gerard Pasterkamp, Johan Bjorkegren, Manuel Mayr, Nick Leeper, Mete Civelek, Heribert Schunkert, Hester den Ruijter and many more. I am proud to be part of such an inspiring consortium. Atherosclerosis brings a lot of unsolved questions: 
1) Is calcification good or bad for plaque stability? 
2) Which factors drive the phenotypic switch of vascular smooth muscles cells? 
3) How can we address the sex-specific differences in cardiovascular disease in the clinical context?
Using mouse models, single-cell RNA sequencing, proteomics, GWAS, network analyses and so on, we may answer some of these questions. The main issue will be that we collaborate intensively during the next years. I am looking forward to participating in the plaqomics framework.