Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell biology

Christine B. Kern, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Room 647, Basic Science Building
Office: (843) 792-9618
Lab: (843) 792-4279



BA Biology, Hope College, Holland MI 1985
PhD Microbiology and Immunology, University of Kentucky 1992
Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Cincinnati (J. Lingrel)

Research Interests:

I am interested in the dynamic role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) during development and disease. One of my current research interests centers around our recent findings that have revealed that the ADAMTS (A Disintegrin-like And Metalloprotease domain with ThromboSpondin-type 1 motifs) proteases are critical for ECM remodeling during maturation of the semilunar cardiac valves and arterial wall of the aortic and pulmonary arteries. We are currently investigating changes in cell behavior and signaling that contribute to abnormal valve development and anomalies of disease in mouse models of ADAMTS deficiency. Since we are interested in elucidating the biomechanical circuitry involved in development and disease we focus on the use of mouse models, confocal imaging and molecular biology techniques to test our hypothesis in vivo and use supportive ex-vivo approaches to further investigate mechanistic pathways.
Recently our laboratory has investigated the Small Leucine Rich Proteoglycans referred to as SLRPs. Many SLRPs have roles in collagen assembly but have not been investigated thoroughly in the heart. Using genetically modified mouse models of SLRP deficiency we have begun to investigate the potential roles of these proteoglycans in cardiac development and disease.

Educational Interests:

One of the most rewarding aspects of my scientific career is providing opportunities in my laboratory and in the classroom for students to explore their scientific interest and potential. I mentor undergraduates in the MUSC Student Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and College of Charleston Students in the Honor’s College in their Bachelor’s Essays projects.  I am also interested in educating and mentoring middle school and high school students in the public schools to encourage more career interest in the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. If you are interested in a research opportunity in my laboratory or collaborative educational interests please email.

In addition to lab mentoring, I also teach histology to first year dental students and special topics seminars to graduate students at the Medical University of South Carolina.


American Heart Association- Scientist Development Grant:  2010-2013
ADAMTS9 in cardiac development and disease
Role: PI

Selected Recent Publications:

  1. Dupuis LE & Kern CB. Small leucine rich proteoglycans exhibit unique spatiotemporal expression profiles during cardiac valve development. Dev Dyn 2013 [PMID: 24272803].
  2. Dupuis LE, Osinska H, Weinstein MB, Hinton RB & Kern CB. Insufficient versican cleavage and Smad2 phosphorylation results in bicuspid aortic and pulmonary valves. J Mol Cell Cardiol 2013 60: 50-59 [PMID: 23531444].
  3. Krishnamurthy VK, Opoka AM, Kern CB, Guilak F, Narmoneva DA & Hinton RB. Maladaptive matrix remodeling and regional biomechanical dysfunction in a mouse model of aortic valve disease. Matrix Biol 2012 31: 197-205 [PMID: 22265892].
  4. Cooley MA, Fresco VM, Dorlon ME, Twal WO, Lee NV, Barth JL, Kern CB, Iruela-Arispe ML & Argraves WS. Fibulin-1 is required during cardiac ventricular morphogenesis for versican cleavage, suppression of ErbB2 and Erk1/2 activation, and to attenuate trabecular cardiomyocyte proliferation. Dev Dyn 2012 241: 303-314 [PMID: 22183742].
  5. Dupuis LE, McCulloch DR, McGarity JD, Bahan A, Wessels A, Weber D, Diminich AM, Nelson CM, Apte SS & Kern CB. Altered versican cleavage in ADAMTS5 deficient mice; a novel etiology of myxomatous valve disease. Dev Biol 2011 357: 152-164 [PMID: 21749862].
  6. Mukherjee R, Rivers WT, Ruddy JM, Matthews RG, Koval CN, Plyler RA, Chang EI, Patel RK, Kern CB, Stroud RE & Spinale FG. Long-term localized high-frequency electric stimulation within the myocardial infarct: effects on matrix metalloproteinases and regional remodeling. Circulation 2010 122: 20-32 [PMID: 20566951].
  7. Kern CB, Wessels A, McGarity J, Dixon LJ, Alston E, Argraves WS, Geeting D, Nelson CM, Menick DR & Apte SS. Reduced versican cleavage due to Adamts9 haploinsufficiency is associated with cardiac and aortic anomalies. Matrix Biol 2010 29: 304-316 [PMID: 20096780].
  8. Anderson RH, Thompson RP & Kern CB. Development of aortic valves with 2 and 3 leaflets. J Am Coll Cardiol 2009 54: 2319-2320 [PMID: 19958968].
  9. Mani SK, Egan EA, Addy BK, Grimm M, Kasiganesan H, Thiyagarajan T, Renaud L, Brown JH, Kern CB & Menick DR. beta-Adrenergic receptor stimulated Ncx1 upregulation is mediated via a CaMKII/AP-1 signaling pathway in adult cardiomyocytes. J Mol Cell Cardiol 2010 48: 342-351 [PMID: 19945464].
  10. Chandrasekaran S, Peterson RE, Mani SK, Addy B, Buchholz AL, Xu L, Thiyagarajan T, Kasiganesan H, Kern CB & Menick DR. Histone deacetylases facilitate sodium/calcium exchanger up-regulation in adult cardiomyocytes. FASEB J 2009 23: 3851-3864 [PMID: 19638401].
  11. Snarr BS, Kern CB & Wessels A. Origin and fate of cardiac mesenchyme. Dev Dyn 2008 237: 2804-2819 [PMID: 18816864].
  12. Cooley MA, Kern CB, Fresco VM, Wessels A, Thompson RP, McQuinn TC, Twal WO, Mjaatvedt CH, Drake CJ & Argraves WS. Fibulin-1 is required for morphogenesis of neural crest-derived structures. Dev Biol 2008 319: 336-345 [PMID: 18538758].
  13. Wirrig EE, Snarr BS, Chintalapudi MR, O'Neal J L, Phelps AL, Barth JL, Fresco VM, Kern CB, Mjaatvedt CH, Toole BP, Hoffman S, Trusk TC, Argraves WS & Wessels A. Cartilage link protein 1 (Crtl1), an extracellular matrix component playing an important role in heart development. Dev Biol 2007 310: 291-303 [PMID: 17822691].
  14. Kern CB, Norris RA, Thompson RP, Argraves WS, Fairey SE, Reyes L, Hoffman S, Markwald RR & Mjaatvedt CH. Versican proteolysis mediates myocardial regression during outflow tract development. Dev Dyn 2007 236: 671-683 [PMID: 17226818].
  15. Kern CB, Twal WO, Mjaatvedt CH, Fairey SE, Toole BP, Iruela-Arispe ML & Argraves WS. Proteolytic cleavage of versican during cardiac cushion morphogenesis. Dev Dyn 2006 235: 2238-2247 [PMID: 16691565].
  16. Mjaatvedt CH, Kern CB, Norris RA, Fairey S & Cave CL. Normal distribution of melanocytes in the mouse heart. Anat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol 2005 285: 748-757 [PMID: 15977222].
  17. Kern CB, Hoffman S, Moreno R, Damon BJ, Norris RA, Krug EL, Markwald RR & Mjaatvedt CH. Immunolocalization of chick periostin protein in the developing heart. Anat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol 2005 284: 415-423 [PMID: 15803479].


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