Matthew R. Alexander, Ph.D., M.D.

Assistant Professor
Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Medicine Assistant Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
M.D., University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VirginiaPh.D., University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VirginiaB.S., Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Research Description
Dr. Alexander’s laboratory is focused on the role of adaptive immunity in the pathogenesis of hypertension and associated cardiovascular disease. Current projects are focused on the role of counter-regulatory immune mechanisms in hypertension, including determining the role of novel regulatory T cell subsets in the pathogenesis of hypertension and microvascular dysfunction. We also have active projects on the role of immune checkpoints in the pathogenesis of hypertension, and opportuniteis to participate in collaborative work exploring the link between the autoimmune disease psoriasis and hypertension.

We perform cutting edge basic and translational research integrating vascular biology and immunology using a variety of approaches including molecular biology, physiology, highly dimensional single cell analysis, and human genetics. Our laboratory is also integrated with the translational research infrastructure in the Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Cardiovascular Medicine to enable novel studies on human tissues and cells. Ultimately, the goal of Alexander laboratory is to fundamentally advance our understanding of hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases to develop new therapies for the benefit of the tremendous number of individuals affected by these conditions.
Clinical Description
General cardiologist with a focus on advanced hypertension.
Research Keywords
Immunology, hypertension, vascular biology, inflammation, microvasculature
Clinical Research Keywords
General Cardiology, advanced hypertension, microvascular dysfunction.
Alexander MR, Hank S, Dale BL, Himmel L, Zhong X, Smart CD, Fehrenbach DJ, Chen Y, Prabakaran N, Tirado B, Centrella M, Ao M, Du L, Shyr Y, Levy D, Madhur MS. A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism in SH2B3/LNK Promotes Hypertension Development and Renal Damage. Circ Res [print-electronic]. 2022 Oct 10/14/2022; 131(9): 731-47. PMID: 36169218, PMCID: PMC9588739, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.320625, ISSN: 1524-4571.

Madhur MS, Elijovich F, Alexander MR, Pitzer A, Ishimwe J, Van Beusecum JP, Patrick DM, Smart CD, Kleyman TR, Kingery J, Peck RN, Laffer CL, Kirabo A. Hypertension: Do Inflammation and Immunity Hold the Key to Solving this Epidemic?. Circ Res [print-electronic]. 2021 Apr 4/2/2021; 128(7): 908-33. PMID: 33793336, PMCID: PMC8023750, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.318052, ISSN: 1524-4571.

Chen Y, Dale BL, Alexander MR, Xiao L, Ao M, Pandey AK, Smart CD, Davis GK, Madhur MS. Class switching and high-affinity immunoglobulin G production by B cells is dispensable for the development of hypertension in mice. Cardiovasc Res. 2021 Mar 3/21/2021; 117(4): 1217-28. PMID: 32609312, PMCID: PMC7983008, PII: 5865856, DOI: 10.1093/cvr/cvaa187, ISSN: 1755-3245.

Alexander MR, Schoeder CT, Brown JA, Smart CD, Moth C, Wikswo JP, Capra JA, Meiler J, Chen W, Madhur MS. Predicting susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection based on structural differences in ACE2 across species. FASEB J [print-electronic]. 2020 Dec; 34(12): 15946-60. PMID: 33015868, PMCID: PMC7675292, DOI: 10.1096/fj.202001808R, ISSN: 1530-6860.

Alexander MR, Norlander AE, Elijovich F, Atreya RV, Gaye A, Gnecco JS, Laffer CL, Galindo CL, Madhur MS. Human monocyte transcriptional profiling identifies IL-18 receptor accessory protein and lactoferrin as novel immune targets in hypertension. Br J Pharmacol [print-electronic]. 2019 Jun; 176(12): 2015-27. PMID: 29774543, PMCID: PMC6534784, DOI: 10.1111/bph.14364, ISSN: 1476-5381.

Dale BL, Pandey AK, Chen Y, Smart CD, Laroumanie F, Ao M, Xiao L, Dikalova AE, Dikalov SI, Elijovich F, Foss JD, Barbaro NR, Van Beusecum JP, Deger SM, Alsouqi A, Itani HA, Norlander AE, Alexander MR, Zhao S, Ikizler TA, Algood HMS, Madhur MS. Critical role of Interleukin 21 and T follicular helper cells in hypertension and vascular dysfunction. JCI Insight. 2019 Apr 4/23/2019; 5: PMID: 31013256, PMCID: PMC6629096, PII: 129278, DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.129278, ISSN: 2379-3708.

Laroumanie F, Korneva A, Bersi MR, Alexander MR, Xiao L, Zhong X, Van Beusecum JP, Chen Y, Saleh MA, McMaster WG, Gavulic KA, Dale BL, Zhao S, Guo Y, Shyr Y, Perrien DS, Cox NJ, Curci JA, Humphrey JD, Madhur MS. LNK deficiency promotes acute aortic dissection and rupture. JCI Insight. 2018 Oct 10/18/2018; 3(20): PMID: 30333305, PMCID: PMC6237478, PII: 122558, DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.122558, ISSN: 2379-3708.

Johnson DB, Balko JM, Compton ML, Chalkias S, Gorham J, Xu Y, Hicks M, Puzanov I, Alexander MR, Bloomer TL, Becker JR, Slosky DA, Phillips EJ, Pilkinton MA, Craig-Owens L, Kola N, Plautz G, Reshef DS, Deutsch JS, Deering RP, Olenchock BA, Lichtman AH, Roden DM, Seidman CE, Koralnik IJ, Seidman JG, Hoffman RD, Taube JM, Diaz LA, Anders RA, Sosman JA, Moslehi JJ. Fulminant Myocarditis with Combination Immune Checkpoint Blockade. N Engl J Med. 2016 Nov 11/3/2016; 375(18): 1749-55. PMID: 27806233, PMCID: PMC5247797, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1609214, ISSN: 1533-4406.

Available Postdoctoral Position Details
Posted: 1/8/2022

A position for a postdoctoral fellow is available in the Alexander laboratory in the Department of Medicine and Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Cardiology.

Research projects include determining the role of a unique regulatory T cell subset in the pathogenesis of hypertension and determining the role of the skin in blood pressure elevations and renal pathology. Studies incorporate vascular biology, immunology, molecular biology, and physiology and utilize cell culture, in vivo animal models, and translational human studies with cutting edge approaches such as single cell RNA sequencing, spectral flow cytometry, and mass cytometry. The postdoctoral fellow will be part of a dynamic research group with excellent mentoring and opportunities for career advancement.

Ideal candidates will be self-motivated with good interpersonal and communication skills and have experience and interest in cardiovascular disease and/or immunology.

Please email a cover letter and CV to Matthew Alexander, MD, PhD at The cover letter should describe 1) prior research experience, 2)  research interests, 3) career goals, 4) contact information for three references.