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Role of VEGF in Neonatal Pulmonary Hypertension

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Dr. Theresa Grover is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and a board-certified neonatologist at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She developed an interest in the regulation of pulmonary vascular growth and function during her fellowship training at UCHSC. She has extensive experience in whole animal studies of fetal and neonatal pulmonary blood flow in the lamb and has developed a focused interest in the role of growth factor modulation of pulmonary vascular growth and function in the perinatal circulation. Her immediate goals are to learn the theories and practice of molecular and cell biology in order to provide better mechanistic understanding of the physiologic and structural changes seen in the whole animal studies. Her long-term goals are to use whole animal, molecular and cell culture techniques to focus on independent investigation of the regulation of pulmonary vascular growth and vasoreactivity in the perinatal lung.

The research environment at UCHSC will provide an ideal setting in which to foster Dr. Grover's career development. She has chosen leaders in the field of pulmonary vascular biology to serve as her advisory committee. Dr. Steven Abman (mentor) has extensive experience in animal and clinical studies of pulmonary vasoreactivity. Dr. Kurt Stenmark's work has focused on cellular and molecular changes of smooth muscle cells in pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Russ Anthony is a PhD physiologist at Colorado State University and has extensive experience in studying the molecular endocrinology of pregnancy and placental angiogenesis. Dr. Grover will work directly with Drs. Abman, Stenmark, and Anthony to apply molecular and cell biology techniques learned through intensive course work to her studies of the effects of vascular growth factors on the fetal and neonatal pulmonary circulation. Dr. Grover will also enhance her career development through regular interactions with members of the Cardiovascular Pulmonary Research Laboratory (CVP) and the Perinatal Research Facility (PRF).

Dr. Grover proposes to study the effects of VEGF treatment on pulmonary vascular structure and function in an experimental model of PPHN. She will examine the mechanisms responsible for structural vascular remodeling and endothelial cell dysfunction and apoptosis in neonatal pulmonary hypertension. These studies will provide an integrated approach to the hypothesis, incorporating whole animal physiology coupled with molecular and cellular studies.
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