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Resident Research »  Leadership »  Research Committee Members »  Robert Raffai, Ph.D.
Robert Raffai, Ph.D.

Robert Raffai, Ph.D.

Associate 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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