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Junco Warren, PhD

Assistant Professor
  • Focus area(s): Energy metabolism and mitochondrial bioenergetics in the healthy and diseased hearts (i.e., heart failure and Type 2 diabetes); metabolomics-based identification of biomarker for heart failure therapy
A Virginia Tech HNFE faculty member stands outside for a photo.
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute (FBRI)
4 Riverside Circle
Roanoke, VA 24016

Education

Ph.D., Pharmacology, State University of New York Medical School, 2007

B.A., International Economics, Aoyama-Gakuin University, Japan, 1997

Experience

2021 – present: Tenure Track, Assistant Professor. Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Roanoke, VA

2019 – present: Adjunct Associate Professor. Division of Developmental Genetics, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan

2008 – present: Metabolomic analysis and bioinformatic analysis of -omics data. University of Utah, Salt Lake City; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

2014 – 2021: Research Track, Research Assistant Professor. Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT

2008 – 2014: Postdoctoral Fellow. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

2007 – 2008: Postdoctoral Fellow. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

2004 – 2007: Graduate Research Assistant. State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY

Selected Major Awards

  • 2023 – Seale Innovation Award, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, Roanoke, VA
  • 2018 – Harold. S. Geneen Charitable Trust Award for Coronary Heart Disease Research
  • 2016 – BCVS Outstanding Early Career Investigator Award, American Heart Association
  • 2015 – Selected Speaker, American Heart Association Scientific Session, Late Breaking Basic Science Session, Orland, FL., “Cardiac-Specific Knock-out of the Histone Methyltransferase Smyd1 Leads to Coordinated Downregulation of Energy Metabolism”
  • 2015 – BCVS Minority Travel Grant - American Heart Association
  • 2014 – Postdoctoral Fellowship – National Institute of Health. F32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards
  • 2011 – Postdoctoral Award - Heart Rhythm Society. Max Schalach Award in Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology
  • 2010 – Predoctoral Fellowship – American Heart Association
  • 2008 – Young Investigator Award - Upstate New York Cardiac Electrophysiology Society Meeting, Syracuse, NY

Program Focus

My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that lead to metabolic dysfunction in heart failure and identifying the molecular targets to restore energy metabolism in the heart, which will lead me to the development of new strategies to treat individuals with heart failure. My recent work identified the striated-muscle-specific regulation of energy metabolism. I also demonstrated that the dysregulation of the muscle-specific regulatory axis of metabolism in the heart leads to the development of cardiac dysfunction and mitochondrial impairment.

These findings may have clinical value in the prevention and treatment of life-threatening cardiac disease. I have an extensive expertise in metabolomics analysis and its bioinformatic analysis, which allowed me to publish more than 10 peer-reviewed publications with my collaborators in Nature Cardiovascular Medicine, Nature Communications, PNAS, and Cell Metabolism

Reviewed Journals

  • Vakka A, Warren JS, Drosatos K, Cell signaling pathways in cardiovascular aging. The Journal of Cardiovascular Aging (Accepted in April 2023)
  • Oka S, Sreedevi S, Sabry AD, Shankar TS, Yedla S, Arowa S, James A, Stone K, Olmos K, Amina SD, Horiuchi AK, Cawley KM, O’Very SA Tong M, Byun J, Xu X, Kashyap S, Mourad Y,  Vehra  O, Calder  D, Lunde T, Liu T, Hong L, Mashchek JA, Cox JE, Saijoh Y, Drakos SG, Warren JS*. PERM1 regulates energy metabolism in the heart viaERRalpha/PGC-1alpha axis. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. Insights in Cardiovascular Metabolism 2022.  doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2022.1033457
  • Sreedevi K, Shankar T, Zaitsev A, Yedla S, James A, Arowa S, Saijoh Y, Drakos S, Warren JS*. Perm1 is a novel regulator of O-GlcNAcylation in the heart (abstract). Circulation. 2022 Oct, 146(A14841)
  • Song L, Bekdash R, Morikawa K, Quejada J, Klein AD, Aina-Badejo D, Yoshida K, Yamamoto HE, Chalan A, Yang R, Patel A, Sirabella D, Lee TM, Joseph LC, Kawano F, Warren JS, Soni RK, Morrow JP, Yazawa M. Sigma non-opioid receptor 1 is a potential therapeutic target for long QT syndrome.  Nature Cardiovasc Res. 2022. 1, 142–156. doi: 10.1038/s44161-021-00016-2.
  • Kashihara T, Mukai R, Oka SI, Zhai P, Nakada Y, Yang Z, Mizushima W, Nakahara T, Warren JS, Abdellatif M, Sadoshima J. YAP mediates compensatory cardiac hypertrophy through aerobic glycolysis in response to pressure overload. J Clin Invest. 2022 Mar 15;132(6). doi: 10.1172/JCI150595. PubMed PMID: 35133975; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8920343.
  • Shimura D, Nuebel E, Baum R, Valdez SE, Xiao S, Warren JS, Palatinus JA, Hong T, Rutter J, Shaw RM. Protective mitochondrial fission induced by stress-responsive protein GJA1-20k. Elife. 2021 Oct 5;10. doi: 10.7554/eLife.69207. PubMed PMID: 34608863; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8492060.
  • Oka SI, Byun J, Huang CY, Imai N, Ralda G, Zhai P, Xu X, Kashyap S, Warren JS, Alan Maschek J, Tippetts TS, Tong M, Venkatesh S, Ikeda Y, Mizushima W, Kashihara T, Sadoshima J. Nampt Potentiates Antioxidant Defense in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy. Circ Res. 2021 Jun 25;129(1):114-130. doi: 10.1161/Circulation. 2021 Apr 30. PubMed PMID: 33928788; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8513534.
  • Sato M, Kadomatsu T, Miyata K, Warren JS, Tian Z, Zhu S, Horiguchi H, Makaju A, Bakhtina A, Morinaga J, Sugizaki T, Hirashima K, Yoshinobu K, Imasaka M, Araki M, Komohara Y, Wakayama T, Nakagawa S, Franklin S, Node K, Araki K, Oike Y. The lncRNA Caren antagonizes heart failure by inactivating DNA damage response and activating mitochondrial biogenesis. Nature Communications. 2021 May 5;12(1):2529. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22735-7. PubMed PMID: 33953175; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8099897.
  • Oka SI, Sabry AD, Horiuchi AK, Cawley KM, O'Very SA, Zaitsev MA, Shankar TS, Byun J, Mukai R, Xu X, Torres NS, Kumar A, Yazawa M, Ling J, Taleb I, Saijoh Y, Drakos SG, Sadoshima J, Warren JS*. Perm1 regulates cardiac energetics as a downstream target of the histone methyltransferase Smyd1. PLoS One. 2020;15(6):e0234913. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0234913. eCollection 2020. PubMed PMID: 32574189; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7310723.
  • Oka SI, Sabry AD, Cawley KM, Warren JS*. Multiple Levels of PGC-1α Dysregulation in Heart Failure. Frontiers Cardiovascular Medicine. 2020;7:2. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2020.00002. eCollection 

Oral Presentations

  • 2023: Invited Speaker, American Heart Association Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS) meeting, Boston, MA., “Role of Perm1 in Cardiac Energetics and Function”.
  • 2017: Invited Speaker, Keystone Symposia, Mitochondria, Metabolism and Heart (Z4), “The Histone Methyltransferase Smyd1 Regulates Mitochondrial Energetics in Cardiomyocytes."

Poster Presentations

  • 2023: Sreedevi K, Warren JS. Perm1 regulates O-GlcNacylation in the heart, American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Annual Meeting (BCVS), Boston, VA.
  • 2023: Yedla S, Warren JS. “Application of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) for Metabolomic Analysis”, National Collegiate Research Conference by the Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association, Boston, MA.
  • 2022: Arowa S, Warren JS. “Role of Perm1 in hexosamine biosynthesis pathway in the heart”, Virginia Tech Undergraduate Symposium, Blacksburg/Roanoke, VA.
  • 2022: Sreedevi K, Warren JS. Perm1 is a novel regulator of O-GlcNacylation in the heart, American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Session, Chicago, IL.
  • 2022: Warren JS. Perm1 is a novel regulator of cardiac energetics and function. Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Center for Vascular and Heart Research Symposium, Roanoke, VA
  • 2021: Warren JS. Application of Metabolomics in Cardiac Research. Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Center for Vascular and Heart Research Retreat, Roanoke, VA