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Irina V. Smirnova, Ph.D.

Director, PhD in Rehabilitation Science Program
Associate Professor
KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Irina Smirnova, Ph.D., is director of the doctorate program in rehabilitation science and has teaching responsibilities for courses in pathophysiology and pharmacology for physical therapy students. She also teaches classes in molecular and cellular basis of rehabilitation to students in the rehabilitation science program. Smirnova is a principal investigator in the Diabetes Research Lab which focuses on diabetic heart disease.

Academic Background

Smirnova earned a master's degree in biochemistry from Lviv State University in Lviv, Ukraine. She completed her doctorate in protein chemistry from the Institute of Bio-organic Chemistry in Kyyiv, Ukraine.

Moving to the United States in the 1990s, Smirnova joined the Neurobiology Research Laboratory at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. as a post-doctoral research fellow. She came to the KU Medical Center as a research associate in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and later joined the faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.

Curriculum vitae PDF document

Research Focus

Smirnova is working on cellular and molecular adaptations of the heart to conditions of diabetes. Projects include the analysis of the benefits of physical exercise and pharmacological treatments for diabetic heart disease, and proteomics approaches to identifying molecular mechanisms and pathways affected in the diabetic heart.

Lab Group Site

Diabetes Research Laboratory
Scientists have combined a variety of expertise, such as physiology, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry and animal behavior to unlock the secrets of diabetes.

Selected Grants

Irina V. Smirnova (PI)
Can a drug replace exercise to improve the diabetic heart?
Purpose: The major goal of this project is to examine the effects of a protein kinase C inhibitor on diabetic heart and compare to those influenced by exercise.
American Heart Association, Scientist Development Grant

Irina V. Smirnova (PI)
Proteomic approach to study diabetic heart protein posttranslational modification
Purpose: The major goal of this proposal is to identify cardiac muscle proteins undergoing enhanced acetylation in type I animal model of diabetes.
NIH COBRE in Protein Structure and Function

Irina V. Smirnova (Co-I)
ICAM-1 Targeted Nanoparticles for In Vivo, VEGF-Induced Angiogenesis
Purpose: To investigate strategies using nanoparticles and magnetic resoinance imaging for targeted delivery of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to wound sites and sites experiencing reduced blood flow in animal model of type I diabetes.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Last modified: Mar 28, 2021

photo of Irina V. Smirnova


Irina V. Smirnova, Ph.D.
Director, PhD in Rehabilitation Science Program
Associate Professor

P: (913) 588-0248
F: (913) 588-4568