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Investigating the Role of Micro Particles in PH

Natalie Bauer

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Release Date: 09.17.2012

Presentation Type: Webinars

Natalie Bauer, PhD, a researcher at University of South Alabama, Mobile, discusses her group's research into micro particles and the implications they may have for care of PH patients.

For the diagnosis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) the physician has a limited number of tools at his disposal. The gold standard of diagnosis involves invasive right heart catheterization, thus the identification of a circulating biomarker sensitive and specific to PAH would be greatly beneficial in the diagnosis of the disease.

A focus of Dr. Bauer’s laboratory is to determine whether microparticles (MPs), circulating submicron vesicles, variably released by resting, activated, and injured vascular wall and circulating blood cells, can function as a specific marker for development and progression of PAH.  These vesicles can be isolated from blood and determinations about their cell source can be made.  By understanding the source and function of these MPs, Dr. Bauer and her co-workers hope to identify specific populations (phenotypes) of circulating MPs that reflect the pathologic changes that occur in PAH.  Identification of a noninvasive biomarker sensitive and specific to PAH would enhance the diagnostic procedure and may lead to new discoveries about the initiation and progression of this devastating disease.  

Dr. Natalie Bauer is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology in the Center for Lung Biology at the College of Medicine, University of South Alabama in Mobile.  She began her scientific career studying the endothelium of the pulmonary circulation as a graduate student and garnered an interest in PAH during her postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research Laboratories.  In combining those interests, for the last few years the work in her laboratory has focused on microparticles and their role as both a biomarker and potential mediator in progression of PAH.