Joshua Fessel, Ph.D., M.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Research Description

The overarching theme in my lab is the study of how redox biology and molecular metabolism contribute to the development of complex disease phenotypes. The diseases of interest include pulmonary arterial hypertension/pulmonary vascular disease, melanoma, lung cancer, critical illness delirium/brain dysfunction, heart failure, and a variety of other phenotypes. Though these may seem unrelated, the common thread is that these and many other diseases involve overproduction of reactive oxygen species, oxidant injury to biological macromolecules, and profound alterations in the utilization and trafficking of carbon substrates and in mitochondrial function.

Current active projects include:

1. Understanding how disrupted signaling through the BMP pathway (via BMPR2 and TGFBR3) reprograms metabolism and drives pulmonary hypertension

2. Investigating the links between specific metabolic strategies and resistance to targeted therapies in BRAF mutant melanoma

3. Defining genetic and environmental factors that drive the development of vascular dysfunction by reprogramming endothelial metabolism, with emphasis on amino acid and fatty acid metabolic pathways

Clinical Interest

My clinical specialty is pulmonary and critical care medicine. My clinical efforts are primarily directed toward the care of veterans in the TVHS Nashville VAMC. I have a general pulmonary outpatient clinic, and I attend 8 weeks per year on the inpatient medical intensive care unit service and the inpatient pulmonary consultation service. I also supervise and perform bronchoscopies involving the use of endobronchial ultrasound to facilitate tissue sampling to diagnose a variety of pulmonary diseases.

Selected Publications