Michael A.J. Zieger, PhD

Assistant Investigator
Methodist Research Institute
Indiana University Health
1800 N. Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202
P: 317.962.6940
F: 317.962.9369
Laboratory: 317.962.9369

Current Projects
Recent Publications
Abbreviated Biography
Curriculum Vitae


The Cryobiology Laboratory at the Methodist Research Institute investigates fundamental aspects of hypothermia and cold adaptation as they relate to therapeutic hypothermia and the preservation of transplant organs. Transplantation is made possible by applying techniques to slow the progression of injury in donor cells, tissues, or organs when there is a lack of blood flow.

Simple strategies such as cryopreservation are applied successfully to isolated cells but are destructive to tissues and organs that have complex structure-function relationships. In these cases, hypothermia is used to slow the metabolic demand for oxygen and reduce ischemic injury. However, hypothermia also perturbs homeostatic processes and is therefore potentially damaging.

Our current research activities are focused on the study of hypothermic preconditioning and the role that catalytic iron and oxidative stress play in mediating cold-induced injury and the adaptive response to hypothermia. These studies incorporate endothelial cell culture, proteomics, biochemical and functional assays.

Although our findings are primarily applicable to transplantation medicine, they may also have clinical relevance to cardiovascular and neurovascular surgery and the therapeutic use of hypothermia in the treatment of traumatic brain injury, myocardial infarction and stroke.

Current Projects

Recent Publications

  1. Zieger MA, Gupta MP, Wang M. Proteomic analysis of endothelial cold-adaptation. BMC Genomics. 2011;12:630. Link
  2. Zieger MA, Gupta MP. Hypothermic preconditioning of endothelial cells attenuates cold-induced injury by a ferritin-dependent process. Free Radic Biol Med. Mar 1 2009;46(5):680-691. Link

Abbreviated Biography

Dr. Zieger studied at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Physics, before obtaining his PhD in biology. He moved to Indianapolis, accepting a postdoctoral research position at Methodist Hospital, and continued working as a scientist for the Pancreatic Islet Transplant Program in the Cryobiology Research Institute at Methodist Hospital after completing his fellowship. He is currently an Assistant Investigator and Director of the Cryobiology Laboratory at the Methodist Research Institute.

The focus of his research career has been to investigate the nature of preservation injury in cells, tissues and organs used in transplantation and to devise better methods of preserving their viability and function. Some of this work has involved studying temperature-dependent mechanisms of hypothermic injury and protection in vitro; determining mechanisms of freezing injury in skin allografts and using ultra-rapid cooling methods to minimize injury; and quantifying osmotic properties of pancreatic islets and applying mathematical models to help minimize injury during cryopreservation.

Dr. Zieger's Curriculum Vitae