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Atherosclerosis Research Lab »  People »  Principal Investigators »  Robert Raffai, Ph.D.
Robert Raffai, Ph.D.

Robert Raffai, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Surgery
  • Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Contact Information

SFVAMC (112G)
4150 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 9412
Phone: (415) 750-2115
Fax: (415) 750-2181
Robert.Raffai@ucsf.edu
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  • 1986-90, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Canada, B.Sc., Biochemistry
  • 1990-93, University of Montreal, Canada, Other, Biochemistry
  • 1993-98, University of Ottawa, Canada, Ph.D., Biochemistry
  • 1997-01, J. David Gladstone Institutes, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mouse Models of Human Disease
  • 2001-04, J. David Gladstone Institutes, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mouse Models of Human Disease

Dr. Raffai earned a PhD in immunobiology of apolipoproteins and antibody engineering within the Lipoprotein Research Group at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 1998. He subsequently trained extensively in lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis research as a postdoctoral fellow at the J. David Gladstone Institutes with Dr. Karl H. Weisgraber. He subsequently established a research program focused on exploring the biology of atherosclerosis within the Department of Surgery at UCSF and the VA Medical Center in San Francisco. He is currently Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of the Atherosclerosis Research Laboratory. Dr. Raffai's research program focusses on elucidating the interplay between metabolism and inflammation in atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease and heart failure. Through studies of mouse models developed in his laboratory, Dr. Raffai's team uncovered new pathways through which a protein called ApoE participates in suppressing the progression and in enhancing the regression of atherosclerosis. Their discovery linked ApoE metabolism to microRNA-control of immune cell activation and protection from atherosclerosis in mice with hyperlipidemia. The laboratory now explores how apoE expression in macrophages contributes to the regulated release of non-coding RNA including microRNA into exosomes that can be communicated to cells at a distance to influence inflammation and atherosclerosis. The lab also explores the role of apoE in altering the microRNA composition of plasma lipoproteins that can also serve as a source of extracellular communication. A  more recent topic in the lab include to explore how diabetic hyperglycemia alters the biogenesis and regulated release of microRNA in exosomes derived from myeloid cells, and how these exRNA can serve to enhance systemic and vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. Our goal is to uncover mechanism through which to prevent microRNA dysregulation in myeloid cells of diabetic mice and to infuse exRNA as novel treatments for diabetic atherosclerosis. Dr. Raffai has trained four postdoctoral fellows and numerous college graduate students in the study of lipoprotein metabolism and immune cell regulation of atherosclerosis.

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  • BLRD Research Career Scientist Award Application
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    Apr 2021
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    Mar 2026
    Principal Investigator
  • Exosomes in the Pathogenesis of Diabetic Atherosclerosis & its Treatment Opportunities
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    Jul 2019
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    Jul 2023
    Principal Investigator
  • P.R.I.S.M: Purification of exRNA by Immuno-capture and Sorting using Microfluidic
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    Sep 2019
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    Aug 2021
    Principal Investigator
  • Immune Modulation and Cardiac Remodeling
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    Oct 2016
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    Sep 2020
    Co-Investigator
  • Hyperglycemia and MicroRNA Dysregulation of Inflammation in Atherosclerosis
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    Jun 2016
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    Mar 2020
    Principal Investigator
  • In Vivo Regulated Release and Function of Extracellular Small RNAs
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    Sep 2013
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    Aug 2018
    Co-Investigator
  • Hyperglycemia Dysregulation of MicroRNA in Myeloid Cells: Impact on Atherosclerosis Regression
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    Jan 2016
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    Dec 2017
    Principal Investigator
  • Does Diabetic Hyperglycemia Regulate Atherosclerosis Progression and Regression?
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    Oct 2009
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    Jun 2014
    Principal Investigator
  • Role of apolipoprotein E4 in the progression and regression of atherosclerosis
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    Sep 2007
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    Jun 2014
    Principal Investigator
MOST RECENT PUBLICATIONS FROM A TOTAL OF 79
Data provided by UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI
  1. Davies MR, Garcia S, Liu M, Chi H, Kim HT, Raffai RL, Liu X, Feeley BT. Muscle-Derived Beige Adipose Precursors Secrete Promyogenic Exosomes That Treat Rotator Cuff Muscle Degeneration in Mice and Are Identified in Humans by Single-Cell RNA Sequencing. Am J Sports Med. 2022 07; 50(8):2247-2257. View in PubMed
  2. Phu TA, Ng M, Vu NK, Bouchareychas L, Raffai RL. IL-4 polarized human macrophage exosomes control cardiometabolic inflammation and diabetes in obesity. Mol Ther. 2022 06 01; 30(6):2274-2297. View in PubMed
  3. Bittel M, Reichert P, Sarfati I, Dressel A, Leikam S, Uderhardt S, Stolzer I, Phu TA, Ng M, Vu NK, Tenzer S, Distler U, Wirtz S, Rothhammer V, Neurath MF, Raffai RL, Günther C, Momma S. Visualizing transfer of microbial biomolecules by outer membrane vesicles in microbe-host-communication in vivo. J Extracell Vesicles. 2021 10; 10(12):e12159. View in PubMed
  4. Bouchareychas L, Duong P, Phu TA, Alsop E, Meechoovet B, Reiman R, Ng M, Yamamoto R, Nakauchi H, Gasper WJ, Van Keuren-Jensen K, Raffai RL. High glucose macrophage exosomes enhance atherosclerosis by driving cellular proliferation & hematopoiesis. iScience. 2021 Aug 20; 24(8):102847. View in PubMed
  5. L. Bouchareychas, P. Duong, S. Covarrubias, E. Alsop, T.A. Q Phu, A. Chung, M. Gomes, D. Wong, B. Meechoovet, A. Capili, R. Yamamoto, H. Nakauchi, M. Mcmanus, S. Carpenter, K. Van Keuren-Jensen, R.L. Raffai. M2 macrophage exosomes regulate hematopoiesis & resolve inflammation in atherosclerosis via microrna cargo. Atherosclerosis. 2020 Dec 1; 315:e2-e3. View in PubMed
  6. View All Publications

 

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