Skip to main content logo of UVA Health
Physician Resource

Researcher Highlight Q&A: Jianjie Ma, PhD, Gene Function & Cardiovascular Disease

Jianjie Ma, PhD, is the William H. Muller Endowed Professor of Surgery in the UVA School of Medicine’s department of surgery and director in the division of surgical sciences. Ma is involved in several areas of research, focusing on cardiovascular diseases, muscle diseases, cell and molecular physiology, regenerative medicine, cancer biology, diabetes, geriatric medicine and Alzheimer’s disease, and therapeutic development.

Ma's team generates and employs animal models of human disease to explore the physiologic function of novel genes in the Ma-Cai-Park Lab. Using CRISPR-gene editing and AAV-gene delivery, the lab can investigate the molecular function of a given gene. They build state-of-the-art microscopic imaging tools to study the temporal and spatial aspects of gene function in vitro and in vivo. The lab is also involved in researching the connection between heart disease and cancer.

See Ma's selected publications. Below, Ma discusses his work and answers some of our Researcher Highlight questions:

What are you working on right now?

One of our notable achievements at UVA Health has been in the field of diabetes research. We've made significant progress with the development of an "exercise pill" to treat diabetes.

Another significant milestone in our team's research endeavors at UVA Health is the discovery and humanizing of a novel monoclonal antibody against CitH3 (hCitH3-mAb), a critical component of NETosis-mediated immune regulation.

Beyond research, my commitment extends to mentoring junior faculty, surgeon-scientists, and students, fostering their career development, and securing substantial funding for impactful projects.

What are the most intriguing potential clinical applications of your work?

The development of a cure for diabetic foot ulcers, a severe complication of diabetes that often requires amputation. We have developed a novel monoclonal antibody that reduces inflammation and enhances the healing of diabetic wounds that is ready for clinical use.

How did you become interested in your area of research?

My passion for my research stems from the joy of working with a team of complementary experts, where a ripple of small ideas can mature into a deeper understanding of human physiology.

Sign Up For Our Monthly Newsletter

Privacy Policy