Buttrick & Walker Lab

The goal of research in our group is to elucidate the cellular mechanisms underlying heart disease. We have two major projects in the lab. The first, a collaborative project with Dr. Peter Buttrick, is focused on cardiomyocyte plasticity and the second focuses on the cardiovascular risks and benefits of cannabinoids.


Lori A. Walker, PhD

Associate Professor
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus 
12700 E. 19th Ave B-139 
Aurora, CO 80045

Phone: (303) 724-5420
Fax: (303) 724-5450


Peter M. Buttrick, MD

Chief, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine
S. Gilbert Blount Endowed Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus 
12700 E. 19th Ave B-139 
Aurora, CO 80045

Phone: (303) 724-2089


Cardiomyocyte plasticity:

Cardiomyocytes are thought to be terminally differentiated and cardiac disease or injury, such as myocardial infarction, results in loss of cardiomyocytes and scar formation. However, we have recently demonstrated dedifferentiation of adult cardiomyocytes to a more neo-natal, proliferative phenotype and are focused on elucidating pathways involved in this cellular plasticity.


Cardiovascular effects of cannabis:

The goal of this project is to determine the cardiovascular effects of cannabis use. The beneficial effects of cannabis to treat numerous medical conditions are well documented. However, whether cannabis use is detrimental, benign or beneficial to the cardiovascular system is still relatively unknown, and a growing number of observational case reports have linked cannabis use to adverse cardiac outcomes including myocardial infarction and rhythm disturbances. However, there have been almost no well-controlled human or animal studies examining cannabis effects on the cardiovascular system and there is little known about how cannabis affects cardiac or vascular muscle. Accordingly, we have undertaken a translational study that examines the effects of cannabis at the level of isolated muscle, in the individual person and in the population. This project represents first translational study designed to comprehensively address the effects of cannabis on the cardiovascular system.

FacultyPeter ButtrickMD 
FacultyLori WalkerPhD 
Post Doctoral FellowHadi Ali, PhD

B.A., English, B.A.,

Philosophy, Tufts University

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine

Master of Acupuncture, Institute of Taoist Education and Acupuncture

PhD, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado

Proteomic regulation of cardiomyocyte fate
Research AssistantYanmei DuBachelor of Science 



Bruns DR, Tatman PD, Kalkur RS, Brown RD, Stenmark KR, Buttrick PM, Walker LA. The right ventricular fibroblast secretome drives cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation. PLoS One. 2019;14(8):e0220573. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220573. eCollection 2019. PMID: 31374110

Johnson-Sasso CP, Tompkins C, Kao DP, Walker LA. Marijuana use and short-term outcomes in patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction. PLoS One. 2018;13(7):e0199705. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199705. eCollection 2018. PMID: 29995914

Chi C, Leonard A, Knight WE, Beussman KM, Zhao Y, Cao Y, Londono P, Aune E, Trembley MA, Small EM, Jeong MY, Walker LA, Xu H, Sniadecki NJ, Taylor MR, Buttrick PM, Song K. LAMP-2B regulates human cardiomyocyte function by mediating autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(2):556-565. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1808618116. Epub 2018. PMID: 30584088

Bruns DR, Walker LA. Exercise and Pharmacology as Medicine for Cardiovascular Diseases: From Bench to Bedside and Back. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2018;46(1):2-3. doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000133. PubMed PMID: 28902725.

Scalzo RL, Knaub LA, Hull SE, Keller AC, Hunter K, Walker LA, Reusch JEB. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor antagonism impairs basal exercise capacity and vascular adaptation to aerobic exercise training in rats. Physiol Rep. 2018 Jul;6(13):e13754. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13754. PMID: 29984491

Bruns DR, Buttrick PM, Walker LA. Genetic ablation of interleukin-18 does not attenuate hypobaric hypoxia-induced right ventricular hypertrophy. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2016 Mar 15;310(6):L542-50. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00166.2015. Epub 2016. PMID: 26747780

Zhao Y, Londono P, Cao Y, Sharpe EJ, Proenza C, O'Rourke R, Jones KL, Jeong MY, Walker LA, Buttrick PM, McKinsey TA, Song K. High-efficiency reprogramming of fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes requires suppression of pro-fibrotic signalling. Nat Commun. 2015. 10;6:8243. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9243. PMID: 26354680

Bruns DR, Brown RD, Stenmark KR, Buttrick PM, Walker LA. Mitochondrial integrity in a neonatal bovine model of right ventricular dysfunction. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015;308(2):L158-67. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00270.2014. Epub 2014. PMID: 25416385

Cardiology (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Anschutz Inpatient Pavilion 1

12605 East 16th Avenue

3rd Floor

Aurora, CO 80045


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