Young-Jae Nam, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Medicine Assistant Professor in Cell and Developmental Biology
Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, Bronx, New YorkM.D., Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Office Address
2215 Garland Ave. Light Hall 1255C
Nashville, TN 37232
Research Description
A fundamental, but unsolved problem in heart diseases is irreversible loss of cardiomyocytes that is replaced by fibrotic scar in response to injury. Therefore, to convert cardiac fibroblasts, the most abundant cell type in the heart, into cardiomyocytes after injury is a particularly attractive heart repair strategy. Over the last several years, we have made several important contributions toward this goal: 1) in vitro reprogramming of adult mouse fibroblasts into beating cardiomyocytes by forced expression of four cardiogenic transcription factors (Nature 2012; 485: 599-604), 2) developing in vivo reprogramming strategy targeting activated cardiac fibroblasts after myocardial infarction which improved heart function and reduced scar formation infarction (Nature 2012; 485: 599-604, Nature Medicine 2013;19: 413-415), 3) identifying the optimal combination of factors that is necessary and sufficient to induce a contractile phenotype in adult human fibroblasts (PNAS 2013;110(14):5588-5593), and 4) defining the cardiomyocyte subtype-specific properties of reprogrammed cells (Development 2014;141(22):4267-78). Based on these progresses, the new research direction in my lab is to understand cardiac fate specification during de novo cardiomyocyte generation and thus to develop entirely new cardiomyocyte induction strategies targeting individual subtypes of cardiomyocytes including atrial, ventricular, and pacemaker cardiomyocytes by direct reprogramming of fibroblasts and directed cardiac differentiation of pluripotent stem cells.
Clinical Description
I am an attending general cardiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute. I attend on the inpatient cardiology services for 4 weeks per year. I work very closely with medical students, house staff and cardiovascular fellows on clinical service and am committed to developing the academic careers of our clinical trainees. I have a clinical interest in the area of coronary artery disease, heart failure and valvular heart disease.
Research Keywords
Reprogramming, Cardiomyocyte, Pluripotent stem cell, fibroblast, transcription factor
Zhang Z, Zhang Q, Lal H, Nam YJ. Generation of Nppa-tagBFP reporter knock-in mouse line for studying cardiac chamber specification. Genesis [print-electronic]. 2019 Jun; 57(6): e23294. PMID: 30920727, DOI: 10.1002/dvg.23294, ISSN: 1526-968X.

Zhang Z, Zhang AD, Kim LJ, Nam YJ. Ensuring expression of four core cardiogenic transcription factors enhances cardiac reprogramming. Sci Rep. 2019 Apr 4/24/2019; 9(1): 6362. PMID: 31019236, PMCID: PMC6482135, PII: 10.1038/s41598-019-42945-w, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42945-w, ISSN: 2045-2322.

Zhang Z, Nam YJ. Analysis of Cardiac Chamber Development During Mouse Embryogenesis Using Whole Mount Epifluorescence. J Vis Exp. 2019 Apr 4/17/2019; (146): PMID: 31058904, DOI: 10.3791/59413, ISSN: 1940-087X.

Zhang Z, Nam YJ. Generation of MLC-2v-tdTomato knock-in reporter mouse line. Genesis [print-electronic]. 2018 Oct; 56(10): e23256. PMID: 30307112, PMCID: PMC6294655, DOI: 10.1002/dvg.23256, ISSN: 1526-968X.

Sutcliffe MD, Tan PM, Fernandez-Perez A, Nam YJ, Munshi NV, Saucerman JJ. High content analysis identifies unique morphological features of reprogrammed cardiomyocytes. Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 1/19/2018; 8(1): 1258. PMID: 29352247, PMCID: PMC5775342, PII: 10.1038/s41598-018-19539-z, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-19539-z, ISSN: 2045-2322.

Nam YJ, Munshi NV. The Promise of Cardiac Regeneration by In Situ Lineage Conversion. Circulation. 2017 Mar 3/7/2017; 135(10): 914-6. PMID: 28264888, PMCID: PMC5410767, PII: CIRCULATIONAHA.116.025830, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.025830, ISSN: 1524-4539.

Nam YJ, Lubczyk C, Bhakta M, Zang T, Fernandez-Perez A, McAnally J, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN, Munshi NV. Induction of diverse cardiac cell types by reprogramming fibroblasts with cardiac transcription factors. Development [print-electronic]. 2014 Nov; 141(22): 4267-78. PMID: 25344074, PMCID: PMC4302916, PII: dev.114025, DOI: 10.1242/dev.114025, ISSN: 1477-9129.

Nam YJ, Song K, Luo X, Daniel E, Lambeth K, West K, Hill JA, DiMaio JM, Baker LA, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN. Reprogramming of human fibroblasts toward a cardiac fate. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A [print-electronic]. 2013 Apr 4/2/2013; 110(14): 5588-93. PMID: 23487791, PMCID: PMC3619357, PII: 1301019110, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1301019110, ISSN: 1091-6490.

Nam YJ, Song K, Olson EN. Heart repair by cardiac reprogramming. Nat. Med. 2013 Apr; 19(4): 413-5. PMID: 23558630, PMCID: PMC3790637, PII: nm.3147, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3147, ISSN: 1546-170X.

Song K, Nam YJ, Luo X, Qi X, Tan W, Huang GN, Acharya A, Smith CL, Tallquist MD, Neilson EG, Hill JA, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN. Heart repair by reprogramming non-myocytes with cardiac transcription factors. Nature. 2012 May 5/31/2012; 485(7400): 599-604. PMID: 22660318, PMCID: PMC3367390, PII: nature11139, DOI: 10.1038/nature11139, ISSN: 1476-4687.

Porrello ER, Johnson BA, Aurora AB, Simpson E, Nam YJ, Matkovich SJ, Dorn GW, van Rooij E, Olson EN. MiR-15 family regulates postnatal mitotic arrest of cardiomyocytes. Circ. Res [print-electronic]. 2011 Sep 9/2/2011; 109(6): 670-9. PMID: 21778430, PMCID: PMC3167208, PII: CIRCRESAHA.111.248880, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.248880, ISSN: 1524-4571.

Wu L, Nam YJ, Kung G, Crow MT, Kitsis RN. Induction of the apoptosis inhibitor ARC by Ras in human cancers. J. Biol. Chem [print-electronic]. 2010 Jun 6/18/2010; 285(25): 19235-45. PMID: 20392691, PMCID: PMC2885202, PII: M110.114892, DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.114892, ISSN: 1083-351X.

Foo RS, Nam YJ, Ostreicher MJ, Metzl MD, Whelan RS, Peng CF, Ashton AW, Fu W, Mani K, Chin SF, Provenzano E, Ellis I, Figg N, Pinder S, Bennett MR, Caldas C, Kitsis RN. Regulation of p53 tetramerization and nuclear export by ARC. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A [print-electronic]. 2007 Dec 12/26/2007; 104(52): 20826-31. PMID: 18087040, PMCID: PMC2409226, PII: 0710017104, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0710017104, ISSN: 1091-6490.

Nam YJ, Mani K, Wu L, Peng CF, Calvert JW, Foo RS, Krishnamurthy B, Miao W, Ashton AW, Lefer DJ, Kitsis RN. The apoptosis inhibitor ARC undergoes ubiquitin-proteasomal-mediated degradation in response to death stimuli: identification of a degradation-resistant mutant. J. Biol. Chem [print-electronic]. 2007 Feb 2/23/2007; 282(8): 5522-8. PMID: 17142452, PII: M609186200, DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M609186200, ISSN: 0021-9258.

Crow MT, Mani K, Nam YJ, Kitsis RN. The mitochondrial death pathway and cardiac myocyte apoptosis. Circ. Res. 2004 Nov 11/12/2004; 95(10): 957-70. PMID: 15539639, PII: 95/10/957, DOI: 10.1161/01.RES.0000148632.35500.d9, ISSN: 1524-4571.

Nam YJ, Mani K, Ashton AW, Peng CF, Krishnamurthy B, Hayakawa Y, Lee P, Korsmeyer SJ, Kitsis RN. Inhibition of both the extrinsic and intrinsic death pathways through nonhomotypic death-fold interactions. Mol. Cell. 2004 Sep 9/24/2004; 15(6): 901-12. PMID: 15383280, PII: S1097276504004824, DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2004.08.020, ISSN: 1097-2765.

Available Postdoctoral Position Details
Posted: 6/10/2015

A postdoctoral position is available for a highly motivated Ph.D., or M.D. Ph.D., who will dedicate his/her postdoctoral study in the field of “heart regeneration”, “stem cell biology”, “reprogramming”, and “gene therapy”. The projects involve in generating new heart muscle cells using reprogramming techniques as a new heart repair strategy and investigating mechanistic basis of cardiac cell fate specification in vitro and in vivo. The major goal of our lab is to understand cardiac cell fate determination and to develop new heart regeneration strategies. Our research is supported by NIH and AHA. For more information, please visit our lab website.

Requirements: 1. PhD degree in molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, biochemistry or related fields. 2. Extensive experience in standard molecular biology techniques (i.e. molecular cloning, immunoblotting, qPCR, immunocytochemistry, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry analysis, and confocal microscope). 3. Prior experience in transgenic mice (i.e. mouse handling, cross breeding, genotyping, and organ extraction). 4. Prior experience in cell culture. 5. Good verbal and written communication skills in English.

Application Details:  The position will be within the Department of Medicine/Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, and Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. To be considered, please send CV and cover letter to Dr. Nam. Cover letter may describe: 1) prior research experience (i.e. scientific achievements and expertise in detail), 2) research interests, 3) career goals, and 4) contact information of three references.