Kaie Ojamaa was educated in Montreal, Canada, at McGill University. She then earned her Ph.D. in physiology at Penn State University College of Medicine, studying metabolic disease processes. During her post-doc studies at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., she was part of a team who cloned the first mutant insulin receptor of a patient with an extreme form of insulin resistance. This was followed by years of research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research/Northwell Health; New York University; and Hofstra University Zucker School of Medicine. Ojamaa specialized in cardiovascular endocrinology, with a focus on the role of thyroid hormones on cardiac diseases and on the regulatory function of the neuroimmune system in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.
Ojamaa has collaborated with pediatric cardiologists and surgeons at Cohen Children's Medical Center on Long Island to study the role of the immune function of newborns with congenital heart defects who require corrective or palliative surgery. Currently at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ojamaa continues her research of cardiac diseases using molecular and gene analytic tools, super-resolution microscopic imaging, calcium/contractile measurements of cardiac myocytes, and physiological approaches. Her goals are to improve current treatment strategies and to develop new approaches to care.
The Ojamaa Lab studies heart disease with a focus on several areas of research using pre-clinical models:
- In ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury of the heart that occurs after a heart attack, we have observed a therapeutic benefit of cholinesterase inhibitors and acetylcholine receptor agonists that results in improved cardiac function with preservation of mitochondrial function.
- We are studying how the T-tubule network of the cardiac myocyte is remodeled in heart failure, resulting in reduced calcium transients and contractile dysfunction. We are also looking at whether treatment with thyroid hormones can attenuate these adverse changes.
- In models of angiotensin II-induced systemic hypertension, we are studying the neuroimmune mechanisms regulating trafficking of inflammatory cells to end organs (such as heart, kidney, and aorta) that result in end-organ damage.
Adam Muncan, Nimra Gilani, Kaie Ojamaa, Khushbu Pandya, Simran Bhatti, Kaihao Wang
Selected Student Abstracts/Presentations
- Nimra Gilani, Kaihao Zhang, Youhua Zhang, A. Martin Gerdes, Kaie Ojamaa. "Thyroid hormones maintain functional T-tubule networks in cardiomyocytes." American Heart Association Annual Scientific Sessions, Philadelphia, Penn., 2019.
- Lisa Greco, Chenyu Zhang, Ying Li, Kaie Ojamaa, Youhua Zhang. "Low-Level Vagal Nerve Stimulation Decreases Cardiac Ryanodine Receptor Phosphorylation and Atrial Fibrillation Inducibility in a Rat Heart Failure Model." American Heart Association Annual Scientific Sessions, Philadelphia, Penn., 2019
- Natalie Zolotareva, Rose-Ann Weick, Shimin An, Jae S. Lee, Y Zhang, AM Gerdes, Kaie Ojamaa. "Thyroid hormone deficiency adversely affects cardiomyocyte T-tubule structure and function." Experimental Biology Annual Conference, Orlando, Fla., 2019.
- Jerrin Peter, Shimin An, Kaie Ojamaa. "Administration of thyroid hormone at low doses improves heart structure and function in heart failure." NYIT SOURCE, New York, N.Y., 2019
- Shimin An, Adam Muncan, Nimra Gilani, Yuan Huang, Youhua Zhang, A Martin Gerdes, Kaie Ojamaa. "Adverse T-tubule Remodeling in a Rat Model of Heart Failure is Attenuated by T3 Treatment." American Heart Assoc., Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Annual Scientific Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2018
- Mavropoulos SA, Khan NS, Levy ACJ, Faliks BT, Sison CP, Pavlov VA, Zhang Y, Ojamaa K. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-mediated protection of the rat heart exposed to ischemia reperfusion. Molecular Medicine 23:120–133, 2017
- McPhillips L, Kholwadwala D, Sison CP, Gruber D, Ojamaa K. A novel brain injury biomarker correlates with cyanosis in infants with congenital heart disease. Pediatric Cardiology 40(3):546–553, 2018
- Tarnawski L, Reardon C, Caravaca A, Rosas-Balina M, Tusche MW, Parrish WR, Ojamaa K, Al-Abed Y, Pavlov, VA, Andersson U, Mak TW, Tracey KJ, Olofsson PS. Adenylyl cyclase 6 mediates inhibition of TNF in the inflammatory reflex. Frontiers in Immunology 9:2648, 2018
- Zhang K, Tang YD, Zhang Y, Ojamaa K, Li Y, Saini AS, Carrillo-Sepulveda MA, Rajagopalan V, Gerdes AM. Comparison of therapeutic triiodothyronine versus metoprolol in the treatment of myocardial infarction in rats. Thyroid 28(6):799–810, 2018
- Carrillo-Sepulveda MA, Panackal A, Maracheril R, Maddie N, Patel MN, Ojamaa K, Savinova OV, Gerdes AM. Triiodothyronine reduces vascular dysfunction associated with hypertension by attenuating PKG/VASP signaling. J Pharmacol Exp.Ther. 2019 Jul 12;doi:10.1124/jpet
Professional Honors and Awards
- Outstanding Faculty Member 2019, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine Student Government Association
- Research Training Awards, 2014, 2016
- Award for Educational Advancement, 2015
- Faculty Mentorship Award, 2012
- American Heart Association Rock Star of Research Award, 2011
- NIH Career Development Award, 1999–2004
Courses Taught at NYIT
- Case-Based Learning
- Academic Medicine Scholars' Program