- 1. Career
Dr. William C. Sessa is the Alfred Gilman Professor and Vice Chairman in the Department of Pharmacology and Director of the Vascular Biology & Therapeutics Program at Yale School of Medicine.
His work defined the molecular aspects and physiological implications of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activation and has contributed towards the elucidation of how nitric oxide (NO) regulates angiogenesis, vascular permeability, atherosclerosis and vascular remodeling.
He cloned eNOS as a post-doc and subsequently identified eNOS subcellular trafficking, post-translational lipidation, phosphorylation and regulated protein-protein interactions as mechanisms to regulate NO production and cardiovascular homeostasis. In addition to work on eNOS, he has made several additional important contributions emanating from his work on eNOS including elucidating the role of caveolae microdomains of the plasma membrane in signaling, defining the role of Akt as an important kinase regulating the morphogenic and survival pathway for angiogenic growth factors, and the identification of the enzyme required for dolichol synthesis in mammalian cells.
This latter pathway is an evolutionarily conserved pathway for all protein N-glycosylation reactions in the endoplasmic reticulum and loss of functions mutations arising in this enzyme can cause a congenital disorder of glycosylation, pediatric epilepsy and movement disorders. He has trained many graduate students, mentored several clinical scientists and over 40 post-doctoral fellows, most of which are in leadership positions in academia.