Lighthouse Selected for Prestigious Research Grant

March 25, 2022

Dr. Janet Lighthouse, an assistant professor in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College, was selected for the New Investigator Award, given by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

Janet Lighthouse

The award provides early-career pharmacy faculty with start-up funding for independent research projects. Lighthouse is one of only 16 awardees this year—selected from a national pool of applicants.

The award will advance Lighthouse’s research in cardiac remodeling. Lighthouse is investigating how sodium-linked glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors blunt fibroblast activation and pathological remodeling. She is looking to establish an in-vitro model to identify the mechanisms by which SGLT2 inhibition alters the fibroblast response to pro-fibrotic stimuli. Her hypothesis is that fibroblasts exposed to glucose are subjected to chronic oxidative stress and sensitized to pathological stimuli, and because SGLT2 is not highly expressed in cardiac cell types, her research is looking at whether SGLT2 inhibitors reduce oxidative stress in fibroblasts through SGLT2-independent mechanisms.

“I’m grateful not only for this opportunity from AACP but also for the support I’ve received from Fisher,” said Lighthouse. “This grant will help us explore novel molecular mechanisms of how SGLT2 inhibitors, an important treatment for diabetes, can help protect the heart. I’m also very excited about the opportunities this provides our students in getting involved in basic science research while building collaborations with ongoing work at neighboring institutions like the University of Rochester Medical Center.”

Lighthouse received her bachelors and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University and a doctoral degree in molecular and cellular biology from Stony Brook University, where she focused on early mammalian development. After graduation, she did her post-doctoral training, first at Yale University investigating the origin of vascular smooth muscle cells in pulmonary hypertension, and then at the University of Rochester Medical Center investigating transcriptional differences in cardiac fibroblasts between exercise and disease.

Lighthouse joined the faculty of the Wegman School of Pharmacy as a full-time assistant professor in January 2020. Throughout her career, she has published research in several academic journals, including the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and JCI Insight, among others. She is a member AACP, the Society for Developmental Biology, American Heart Association, and International Society for Heart Research.