Rayner, Katey


Katey Rayner, PhD, is a Scientist and Director of the Cardiometabolic microRNA Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Dr. Rayner is also Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Ottawa. She leads the Ottawa region strategic research Innovation Cluster on Vascular Inflammation and Metabolism. 


Dr. Rayner obtained her BSc from the University of Toronto, and her PhD from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Rayner’s doctoral work focused on the role of hormones, heat shock proteins and macrophage foam cells in the development of atherosclerosis. Dr. Rayner pursued a postdoctoral fellowship first at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital then at New York University School of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Kathryn Moore. During her postdoctoral work, Dr. Rayner discovered a role for microRNAs, specifically microRNA-33, in the regulation of HDL and its atheroprotective effects.

Dr. Rayner is a member of the peer review committees for both Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Scheme and Operating Grant competitions and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) Grant-in-Aid program. She is an Editorial Board member of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB), where she also serves as the Social Media Editor. Dr. Rayner reviews for many peer-reviewed journals including Circulation, Circulation Research, Nature Communications, Cell Reports.  

Dr. Rayner holds a New Investigator Award from the CIHR, and was awarded the McDonald Scholarship in 2013 as the highest-ranked New Investigator from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Her research is funded by CIHR, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (Early Researcher Award), and the JP Bickell Foundation. Dr. Rayner has been recognized by the American Heart Association’s ATVB Council with awards such as the Irvine H Page Young Investigator Research Award and the Early Career Award for Outstanding Research.

Research & Clinical Interests 

Dr. Rayner’s research program focuses on how microRNAs control multiple aspects of the risk factors that drive both atherosclerosis and obesity, namely inflammation dysregulated energy metabolism, and how microRNAs may be used as therapeutics in the future to treat these cardiometabolic diseases.


See current publications list at PubMed.

Selected publications:

  1. Rayner KJ. miR-155 in the Heart: The Right Time at the Right Place in the Right Cell. Circulation. 2015 Apr 7.
  2. Karunakaran D, Rayner KJ. MicroRNAs in cardiovascular health: from order to disorder. Endocrinology. 2013 Nov;154(11):4000-9.
  3. Rafatian N, Karunakaran D, Rayner KJ, Leenen FH, Milne RW, Whitman SC. Cathepsin G deficiency decreases complexity of atherosclerotic lesions in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2013 Oct 15;305(8):H1141-8.
  4. Sheedy FJ, Grebe A, Rayner KJ, Kalantari P, Ramkhelawon B, Carpenter SB, Becker CE, Ediriweera HN, Mullick AE, Golenbock DT, Stuart LM, Latz E, Fitzgerald KA, Moore KJ. CD36 coordinates NLRP3 inflammasome activation by facilitating intracellular nucleation of soluble ligands into particulate ligands in sterile inflammation. Nat Immunol. 2013 Aug;14(8):812-20.
  5. Rayner KJ, Esau EC, Hussain FN, McDaniel AL, Marshall SM, van Gils JM, Ray TD, Sheedy FJ, Goedeke L, Liu X, Khatsenko OG, Kaimal V, Lees CJ, Fernandez-Hernando C, Fisher EA, Temel RE, Moore KJ. Inhibition of miR-33a and b in non-human primates raises plasma HDL cholesterol and reduces VLDL triglycerides. Nature. 2011; 478(7369):404-7.
  6. Rayner KJ, Sheedy FJ, Esau EC, Hussain FN, Temel RE, Parathath, van Gils JM, Rayner AJ, Chang AN, Suarez Y, Fernandez-Hernando C, Fisher EA, Moore KJ. Antagonism of miR-33 in Mice Promotes Reverse Cholesterol Transport and Regression of Atherosclerosis. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2011; 21(7):2921-31.
  7. Rayner KJ*, Suarez Y*, Davalos A, Parathath S, Fitzgerald ML, Tamehiro N, Fisher EA, Moore KJ# and Fernandez-Hernando C#. miR-33 Contributes to the Regulation of Cholesterol Homeostasis. Science. 2010; 328(5985):1570-3. *,# Equal contribution.
  8. Duewell P*, Kono H*, Rayner KJ, Sirois CM, Vladimer G, Bauernfeind FG, Abela GS, Franchi L, Nuñez G, Schnurr M, Espevik T, Lien E, Fitzgerald KA, Rock KL, Moore KJ, Wright SD, Hornung V and Latz E. NLRP3 inflamasomes are required for atherogenesis and activated by cholesterol crystals that form early in disease. Nature. 2010; 464(7293):1357-61. * Equal contribution.

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