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Robert Gourdie, Ph.D.

Professor and Commonwealth Fund Eminent Scholar
  • Center Director at Heart and Reparative Medicine Research, FBRI
Picture of Rob Gourdie
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute
2 Riverside Circle
Office #2008
Roanoke, VA 24016


Gourdie Lab

Watch this short video about the lab. All BEAM videos available here.

Research Areas

  • Cardiovascular engineering

Research Interests

The research of the Gourdie Laboratory is on the subunit proteins of gap junctions, which are called connexins. Connexins are the channels that enable direct communication between cells. Projects in the laboratory include:

  • Research on connexins in heart bioelectricity - including new ideas on how cardiac conduction may occur via an ephaptic-electric field based mechanism.
  • Studies of how connexin hemichannels are involved in determining injury severity following heart attack, stroke and traumatic brain injury.
  • Drug discovery development and testing of new compounds targeting connexin channels for use in diseases of the heart and brain, wound healing, radiation injury and cancer.
  • Research on how connexins are involved in the development of drug resistance by glioblastoma, breast cancer, melanoma and other cancers.
  • Development of novel orally administered drug delivery devices based on milk exosomes.


  • University College London, United Kingdom: British Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Developmental Biology and Anatomy
  • University of Canterbury, New Zealand: Ph.D. , Biophysics
  • University of Auckland, New Zealand: M.S. (1st class honors)

Awards, Honors, and Service

  • Commonwealth Commercialization Eminent Scholar, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion
  • Keynote Speaker, International Gap Junction Conference Keynote Speaker, Victoria, British Columbia, 2019
  • Co-Founder FirstString Research, Inc., winner of the Tibbets Small Business Administration prize in 2017, presented in a ceremony at the White House
  • Founder and CEO, Tiny Cargo Company Inc., 2018
  • Co-Founder Acomhal Research, 2016
  • Co-Director, Center for Cardiovascular Developmental Biology, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Charleston SC
  • Editorial Board - International Journal of Molecular Science since 2018
  • Program director of P01/PPG grant
  • Charter member of the ESTA study section
  • International Gap Junction Conference Co-Organizer Charleston, SC 2013
  • Medical University of South Carolina Board of Trustees' Eminent Scholar, 2008-2012
  • Prizewinner, Charleston Business Journal Innovator, 2006
  • National Science Foundation Early Career Scholar, 1998
  • Developing Scholar Award, MUSC Health Sciences Foundation, 1997
  • Basil O’Connor Scholar, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, 1996

Recent Publications

Montgomery J, Richardson WJ, Marsh S, Rhett JM, Bustos F, Degen K, Ghatnekar GS, Grek CL, Jourdan LJ, Holmes JW, Gourdie RG. The connexin 43 carboxyl terminal mimetic peptide αCT1 prompts differentiation of a collagen scar matrix in humans resembling unwounded skin. FASEB J. 2021 Aug;35(8):e21762.  PMID: 34246197. Clinical trial

Marsh SR, Pridham KJ, Jourdan J, Gourdie RG. Novel Protocols for Scalable Production of High Quality Purified Small Extracellular Vesicles from Bovine Milk. Nanotheranostics. 2021 Jul 5;5(4):488-498. doi: 10.7150/ntno.62213. PMID: 34367882; PMCID: PMC8342262.

Roberts R, Smyth JW, Will J, Roberts P, Grek CL, Ghatnekar GS, Sheng Z, Gourdie RG, Lamouille S, Foster EJ. Development of PLGA nanoparticles for sustained release of a connexin43 mimetic peptide to target glioblastoma cells. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2020 Mar;108:110191. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2019.110191. Epub 2019 Sep 12. PMID: 31923988.

Jiang J, Hoagland D, Palatinus JA, He H, Iyyathurai J, Jourdan LJ, Bultynck G, Wang Z, Zhang Z, Schey K, Poelzing S, McGowan FX, Gourdie RG. Interaction of α Carboxyl Terminus 1 Peptide With the Connexin 43 Carboxyl Terminus Preserves Left Ventricular Function After Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Aug 20;8(16):e012385. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.012385. Epub 2019 Aug 19. PMID: 31422747; PMCID: PMC6759879

Hoagland DT, Santos W, Poelzing S, Gourdie RG. The role of the gap junction perinexus in cardiac conduction: Potential as a novel anti-arrhythmic drug target. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2019 Jul;144:41-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2018.08.003. Epub 2018 Sep 19. PMID: 30241906; PMCID: PMC6422736.

Veeraraghavan R, Hoeker GS, Alvarez-Laviada A, Hoagland D, Wan X, King DR, Sanchez-Alonso J, Chen C, Jourdan J, Isom LL, Deschenes I, Smyth JW, Gorelik J, Poelzing S, Gourdie RG.The adhesion function of the sodium channel beta subunit (β1) contributes to cardiac action potential propagation. Elife. 2018 Aug 14;7:e37610. doi: 10.7554/eLife.37610. PMID: 30106376

Veeraraghavan R, Gourdie RG. Stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy-based relative localization analysis (STORM-RLA) for quantitative nanoscale assessment of spatial protein organization. Mol Biol Cell. 2016 Nov 7;27(22):3583-3590.  PMID: 27307586

Murphy SF, Varghese RT, Lamouille S, Guo S, Pridham KJ, Kanabur P, Osimani AM, Sharma S, Jourdan J, Rodgers CM, Simonds GR, Gourdie RG*, Sheng Z*. Connexin 43 Inhibition Sensitizes Chemoresistant Glioblastoma Cells to Temozolomide. Cancer Res. 2016 Jan 1;76(1):139-49. PMID: 26542214 *Co-corresponding authors

Ghatnekar GS, Grek CL, Armstrong DG, Desai SC, Gourdie RG. The effect of a connexin43-based Peptide on the healing of chronic venous leg ulcers: a multicenter, randomized trial. J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Jan;135(1):289-298. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.318. Epub 2014 Jul 29. PMID: 25072595  Clinical Trial.

Gourdie RG, Dimmeler S, Kohl P. Novel therapeutic strategies targeting fibroblasts and fibrosis in heart disease. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2016 Sep;15(9):620-638. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2016.89. Epub 2016 Jun 24. PMID: 27339799