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Heart Institute

USF Heart Institute

Sarah Yuan, MD, PhD

Sarah Yuan, MD, PhD

Endowed Chair, College of Medicine Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

Deriso Endowed Chair, Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Medicine

Contact Info 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd
Tampa FL 33612

Academic Email:

Academic Phone:(813) 974-5104


  • PhD, Physiology and Surgery, Second Military Medical University, 1993
  • PhD, Physiology, Second Military Medical University, 1988
  • MD, Medicine, First Military Medicial University, 1983

Interdisciplinary and Emerging Signature Programs

  • Allergy, Immunology & Infectious Disease
  • Cardiovascular
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Metabolic Regulation and Disorders

Research Interests

  • The goal of our research is to better understand the cellular and molecular regulation of cardiovascular function in health and disease. We investigate the signaling mechanisms of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in the microcirculation during inflammation, trauma, infection, sepsis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and metastatic tumor development. A unique aspect of our studies is the emphasis on translating novel molecular mechanisms into systemic pathophysiology via integrative analyses of human, animal, and cell models of diseases. Techniques utilized in these studies include intravital microscopy, 3D fluorescence imaging, fluorescence resonance energy transfer, electric cell-substrate impedance sensor, cell isometric tension, and state-of-the-art molecular approaches including gene knockout and mutation. Our research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Recent Publications

  • Beard RS, Yang X, Meegan JE, Overstreet JW, Yang CG, Elliott JA, Reynolds JJ, Cha BJ, Pivetti CD, Mitchell DA, Wu MH, Deschenes RJ, Yuan SY. Palmitoyl acyltransferases DHHC21 mediates endothelial dysfunction in systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Nature communications. 7: 12823, 2016.
  • Chatterjee V, Beard RS, Reynolds J, Haines R, Guo M, Rubin M, Guido J, Wu MH, Yuan SY. MicroRNA-147b regulates vascular endothelial barrier function by targeting ADAM15 expression PLoS One. 9(10) : e110286, 2014.
  • Beard SR, Haines RJ, Wu KY, Reynolds JJ, Davis SM, Elliott JE, Cha B, Wu MH, Yuan SY. MLCK is required for β-catenin/FoxO1-dependent downregulation of claudin-5 in interleukin-1β-mediated brain endothelial cell barrier dysfunction. J Cell Sci. 127: 1840-1853, 2014.
  • Rigor RR, Shen Q, Pivetti CD, Wu MH, Yuan SY. Myosin light chain kinase signaling in endothelial barrier dysfunction. Med Res Rev. 33: 911, 2013.
  • Lee ES, Van Spyk EN, Chun KC, Pitts RL, Wu MH, Yuan SY. Monocytic adhesion molecule expression and monocyte-endothelial cell dysfunction are increased in patients with peripheral vascular disease versus patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms. J Surg Res. 177: 378, 2012.
  • Sun C, Wu HM, Lee ES, Yuan SY. A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 15 contributes to atherosclerosis by mediating endothelial barrier dysfunction via Src family kinase activity ATVB. 32: 2444, 2012.
  • Sun C, Wu MH, Yuan SY. nmMLCK deficiency ameliorates atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient mice via reduced endothelial barrier dysfunction and monocyte migration. Circulation. 124: 48-57, 2011.
  • Shen Q, Lee ES, Pitts RL, Wu MH, Yuan SY. TIMP-2 regulates MMP-2 mediated endothelial barrier dysfunction and breast cancer cell transmigration through lung microvascular endothelial cells. Mol. Cancer Res. 8: 939-951, 2010.
  • Shen Q, Rigor RR, Pivetti C, Wu MH, Yuan SY. Myosin light chain kinase and microvascular barrier function. Cardiovascular Research. 87: 348-355, 2010.
  • Yuan SY Wu MH Ustinova EE Guo M Tinsley JH De Lanerolle P and Xu W. Myosin light chain phosphorylation in neutrophil-stimulated coronary microvascular leakage. Circulation Research. 90: 1214, 2002.
  • Yuan SY Ustinova EE Wu HM Tinsley JH Xu W Korompai FL and Taulman AC, . PKC activation contributes to microvascular barrier dysfunction in the heart at early stages of diabetes. Circulation Research. 87: 412, 2000.
  • Tinsley JH Wu MH Ma W Taulman AC and Yuan SY, . Activated neutrophils induce hyperpermeability and phosphorylation of adherens junction proteins in coronary venular endothelial cells. J Biol Chem. 274: 24930, 1999.