Francesca Seta, PhD
Assistant Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Dept of Medicine
Vascular Biology

PhD, New York Medical College
MSc, Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Francesca Seta, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Vascular Biology Section at the Boston University School of Medicine. Dr Seta’s laboratory studies the basic mechanisms of vascular diseases, with an emphasis on the biology of the vascular smooth muscle. Her current research seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of arterial stiffening and aortic aneurysms/dissections, two degenerative vascular conditions for which there are no therapies.
Hardening of elastic arteries is an age- and obesity-related maladaptive remodeling which occurs independently of atherosclerosis but comparably harmful to the cardiovascular system. Dr Seta identified the transcription factor Bcl11b, nearby a genetic locus with genome-wide association with increased arterial stiffness, as a crucial regulator of vascular smooth muscle contractile phenotype and arterial functional integrity. In addition, her ongoing projects focus on the role of the lysine deacetylase sirtuin-1, known as the “longevity” gene and a molecular target of caloric restriction, in vascular homeostasis. She demonstrated that sirtuin-1 genetic overexpression or pharmacological activation exerts beneficial anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the aortic wall, protecting against obesity-induced arterial stiffness and cardiac diastolic dysfunction. On the opposite, lack of sirtuin-1 in vascular smooth muscle cause aortic dissection in mice treated with angiotensin II. Current studies are examining the therapeutic potential of sirtuin-1 against aortic aneurysms in a mouse model of Marfan’s syndrome, a condition characterized by aortic enlargements at risk of rupture or dissection. Dr Seta's laboratory employs state-of-the art in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro approaches, including high-resolution ultrasound echocardiography, radiotelemetry, high-fidelity pressure catheters and pressurized myography, to assess pulse wave velocity, the gold standard measure of arterial stiffness; active and passive properties of blood vessels; imaging and characterization of aortic aneurysms. The goal is to identify molecular targets to develop novel translational therapies that can prevent and treat dreadful vascular diseases.

Research interests: Arterial Stiffness, Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection, Cardiovascular Physiology, Cardiovascular Disease Related to Metabolic Syndrome, Hypertension, Oxidative Stress, Pulmonary Hypertension, Vascular Biology, and Vascular Diseases.

Boston University
Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute

Boston University
Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences

2019-2021 BUMS-Department of Medicine: Evans Research Faculty Merit Award
2018-2019 BUMS-Department of Medicine: Outstanding Citizenship Award
2014-2016 BUMC- Evans Center: Evans Center Fellow Award

Role of Vascular Smooth Muscle Bcl11b in Arterial Stiffness
04/01/2018 - 01/31/2023 (PI)
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Preclinical study to test the efficacy of sirtuin1 against the vascular complications of Marfan's and related disorders
07/01/2017 - 06/30/2019 (PI)
National Marfan Foundation

Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center
04/01/2017 - 03/31/2018 (Subcontract PI)
Boston Medical Center Corporation NIH NIDDK

Sirtuin1 in Aortic Remodeling and Dissection
07/01/2014 - 06/30/2016 (PI)
National Marfan Foundation


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Valisno JAC, May J, Singh K, Helm EY, Venegas L, Budbazar E, Goodman JB, Nicholson CJ, Avram D, Cohen RA, Mitchell GF, Morgan KG, Seta F. BCL11B Regulates Arterial Stiffness and Related Target Organ Damage. Circ Res. 2021 Mar 19; 128(6):755-768.View Related Profiles. PMID: 33530702; PMCID: PMC7969164; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.316666;
  2. Wang Y, Taylor E, Zikopoulos B, Seta F, Huang N, Hamilton JA, Kantak KM, Morgan KG. Aging-induced microbleeds of the mouse thalamus compared to sensorimotor and memory defects. Neurobiol Aging. 2021 04; 100:39-47.View Related Profiles. PMID: 33477010; PMCID: PMC8162167; DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.11.017;
  3. Budbazar E, Rodriguez F, Sanchez JM, Seta F. The Role of Sirtuin-1 in the Vasculature: Focus on Aortic Aneurysm. Front Physiol. 2020; 11:1047. PMID: 32982786; PMCID: PMC7477329; DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2020.01047;
  4. Yu W, Xiao L, Que Y, Li S, Chen L, Hu P, Xiong R, Seta F, Chen H, Tong X. Smooth muscle NADPH oxidase 4 promotes angiotensin II-induced aortic aneurysm and atherosclerosis by regulating osteopontin. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020 12 01; 1866(12):165912. PMID: 32777344
  5. Shao D, Yao C, Kim MH, Fry J, Cohen RA, Costello CE, Matsui R, Seta F, McComb ME, Bachschmid MM. Improved mass spectrometry-based activity assay reveals oxidative and metabolic stress as sirtuin-1 regulators. Redox Biol. 2019 04; 22:101150.View Related Profiles. PMID: 30877853; PMCID: PMC6423473; DOI: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101150;
  6. Yu X, Turcotte R, Seta F, Zhang Y. Micromechanics of elastic lamellae: unravelling the role of structural inhomogeneity in multi-scale arterial mechanics. J R Soc Interface. 2018 10 17; 15(147). PMID: 30333250; PMCID: PMC6228495; DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0492;
  7. Kohn JC, Azar J, Seta F, Reinhart-King CA. High-Fat, High-Sugar Diet-Induced Subendothelial Matrix Stiffening is Mitigated by Exercise. Cardiovasc Eng Technol. 2018 03; 9(1):84-93. PMID: 29159794; PMCID: PMC5797500; DOI: 10.1007/s13239-017-0335-9;
  8. Oh YS, Berkowitz DE, Cohen RA, Figueroa CA, Harrison DG, Humphrey JD, Larson DF, Leopold JA, Mecham RP, Ruiz-Opazo N, Santhanam L, Seta F, Shyy JYJ, Sun Z, Tsao PS, Wagenseil JE, Galis ZS. A Special Report on the NHLBI Initiative to Study Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Arterial Stiffness and Its Association With Hypertension. Circ Res. 2017 11 10; 121(11):1216-1218.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29122942; PMCID: PMC5728161; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.311703;
  9. Ravid K, Seta F, Center D, Waters G, Coleman D. Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research and Training: Initial Outcomes and Evolution of the Affinity Research Collaboratives Model. Acad Med. 2017 Oct; 92(10):1399-1405.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28445220
  10. Shao D, Han J, Hou X, Fry J, Behring JB, Seta F, Long MT, Roy HK, Cohen RA, Matsui R, Bachschmid MM. Glutaredoxin-1 Deficiency Causes Fatty Liver and Dyslipidemia by Inhibiting Sirtuin-1. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2017 Aug 20; 27(6):313-327.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27958883; PMCID: PMC5563925; DOI: 10.1089/ars.2016.6716;
Showing 10 of 37 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 37 publications over 19 distinct years, with a maximum of 6 publications in 2017


I am a research scientist with expertise in vascular surgery and hemodynamic measurements in small animals. My research interest is vascular biology with a focus on diseases of large arteries, such as arterial stiffness and aortic aneurysm/dissection, and hypertension. I mentor, as direct supervisor, undergraduate, graduate and medical students, mainly during their laboratory training and thesis research work. I am available as peer mentor to early stage investigators and as research mentor to students and post-docs to share my technical and knowledge expertise as well as science culture.

Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions):
  • Co-Mentor or Peer Mentor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:
  • Email (see 'Contact Info')

650 Albany St Evans Biomed Research Ctr
Boston MA 02118
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