Lula L Hilenski, PhD, MA

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Division of Cardiology

Phone: 404-727-8116

Fax: 404-727-3330



Dr. Hilenski is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology at Emory University.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1980 and did postdoctoral work at Harvard University School of Medicine and at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.  From 1994-1999, she was a Research Scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia.  In 1999, she moved to the Division of Cardiology at Emory University where she was appointed Director of the Internal Medicine Imaging Core in 2000 and Assistant Professor in 2004.

Dr. Hilenski’s research centers on redox-sensitive signaling events mediated by angiotensin II (Ang II), an octapeptide hormone which plays an important role in the cardiovascular system by regulating blood pressure, electrolyte homeostasis and vascular remodeling. Ang II exerts its major effects by binding to a membrane bound G-protein coupled receptor (AT1R), resulting in activation of multiphasic, diverse signaling pathways. One of these pathways involves Ang II-induced activation of NADPH oxidases to produce the reactive oxygen species (ROS) superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, which also serve as signaling molecules. Vascular smooth muscle cells express two homologues of the multi-subunit NADPH oxidase, Nox1 and Nox4, which differ in structure, biochemistry, kinetics and function. Using immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy, Dr. Hilenski has shown that Nox1 and Nox4 are differentially localized in two important signaling domains, caveolae and focal adhesions, respectively, each with its own repertoire of signaling components. These findings, which suggest that the differential roles for the Nox homologues are due to their differential subcellular locations in distinct signaling domains, were accompanied by the cover figure of Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Understanding the links between oxidative stress and vascular diseases necessitates knowing where the Nox subunits are located in relation to ROS production. Thus, another aspect of Dr. Hilenski’s research is the identification of intracellular sites of ROS production using enzyme cytochemistry and transmission electron microscopy. Determining the intracellular sites of ROS production and NADPH location is an essential step to designing possible therapeutic interventions in ROS-mediated vascular pathology and injury.

In addition these research projects, Dr. Hilenski is currently the Core Leader on the Imaging Core for two program project grants in Cardiology, Modulation of Vascular Function by Reactive Oxygen Species and Molecular Control of Vascular Function by Oxidant Stress.

Since 2003, Dr. Hilenski has presented the lecture “Identification and Localization of Proteins in a Single Cell” in an annual course for postdoctoral research fellows entitled Principles and Practice of Molecular Biology in Medicine.


  1. Zuo L, Ushio-Fukai M, Ikeda S, Hilenski L, Patrushev N, Alexander RW.
    Caveolin-1 is essential for activation of Rac1 and NAD(P)H oxidase after angiotensin II type 1 receptor stimulation in vascular smooth muscle cells: role in redox signaling and vascular hypertrophy.
    Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005 Sep;25(9):1824-30. Epub 2005 Jun 23.
    PMID: 15976327
  2. Yamaoka-Tojo M, Ushio-Fukai M, Hilenski L, Dikalov SI, Chen YE, Tojo T, Fukai T, Fujimoto M, Patrushev NA, Wang N, Kontos CD, Bloom GS, Alexander RW.
    IQGAP1, a novel vascular endothelial growth factor receptor binding protein, is involved in reactive oxygen species--dependent endothelial migration and proliferation.
    Circ Res. 2004 Aug 6;95(3):276-83. Epub 2004 Jun 24.
    PMID: 15217908
  3. Hilenski LL, Clempus RE, Quinn MT, Lambeth JD, Griendling KK.
    Distinct subcellular localizations of Nox1 and Nox4 in vascular smooth muscle cells.
    Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004 Apr;24(4):677-83. Epub 2003 Dec 11.
    PMID: 14670934
  4. Ushio-Fukai M, Hilenski L, Santanam N, Becker PL, Ma Y, Griendling KK, Alexander RW.
    Cholesterol depletion inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor transactivation by angiotensin II in vascular smooth muscle cells: role of cholesterol-rich microdomains and focal adhesions in angiotensin II signaling.
    J Biol Chem. 2001 Dec 21;276(51):48269-75. Epub 2001 Oct 3.
    PMID: 11585822
  5. Hilenski LL, Griendling KK and Alexander RW.
    Angiotensin AT1 receptors.  In: R. Re, D. DiPette, E. Schiffrin and J. Sowers, eds.  Molecular Mechanisms of Hypertension.
    Taylor & Francis, London. 2006; 25-40.
    [PubMed: processing]