Darla L. Tharp, PhD

Assistant Research Professor

  • Department of Biomedical Sciences
  • NextGen Precision Health

Email: TharpDL@umsystem.edu

Darla L. Tharp

The main goal of my research is to investigate mechanisms involved in the development of cardiovascular disease and heart failure in order to discover potential targets for therapeutic intervention.  Our lab uses clinically relevant porcine models of heart failure to test the effects of different gene and/or protein therapies on heart function as well as coronary and cerebral vascular function. Utilizing a translational approach, our lab investigates these mechanisms at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and whole animal levels, which enables our research to bridge the gap from bench-to-bedside.  Our lab utilizes numerous unique skill sets including catheter-based coronary angiography, coronary and vascular ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), pressure-volume loop techniques, in vivo and in vitro vascular functional experiments, qRT-PCR, immunoblot/immunohistochemistry, cell electrophysiology, and targeted genetic manipulation.


Distribution of cardiomyocyte-selective adeno-associated virus serotype 9 vectors in swine following intracoronary and intravenous infusion. Li J, Kelly SC, Ivey JR, Thorne PK, Yamada KP, Aikawa T, Mazurek R, Turk JR, Silva KAS, Amin AR, Tharp DL, Mueller CM, Thakur H, Leary EV, Domeier TL, Rector RS, Fish K, Cividini F, Ishikawa K, Emter CA, Kapiloff MS. Physiol Genomics. 2022 Jul 1;54(7):261-272. Epub 2022 Jun 1. PMID: 35648460

Mechanism-Driven Modeling to Aid Non-invasive Monitoring of Cardiac Function via Ballistocardiography. Zaid M, Sala L, Ivey JR, Tharp DL, Mueller CM, Thorne PK, Kelly SC, Silva KAS, Amin AR, Ruiz-Lozano P, Kapiloff MS, Despins L, Popescu M, Keller J, Skubic M, Ahmad S, Emter CA, Guidoboni G. Front Med Technol. 2022 Feb. PMID: 35252962

KCa3.1 Inhibition Decreases Size and Alters Composition of Atherosclerotic Lesions Induced by Low, Oscillatory Flow. Tharp DL, Bowles DK. Artery Res. 2021 Jun;27(2):93-100. PMID: 34457083

Low-intensity interval exercise training attenuates coronary vascular dysfunction and preserves Ca²⁺-sensitive K⁺ current in miniature swine with LV hypertrophy. Emter CA, Tharp DL, Ivey JR, Ganjam VK, Bowles DK. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Oct;301(4):H1687-94. PMID: 21841018

Local delivery of the KCa3.1 blocker, TRAM-34, prevents acute angioplasty-induced coronary smooth muscle phenotypic modulation and limits stenosis. Tharp DL, Wamhoff BR, Wulff H, Raman G, Cheong A, Bowles DK. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Jun;28(6):1084-9. PMID: 18309114