Cryobiology

The Cryobiology Laboratory at the Methodist Research Institute investigates aspects of cryobiology and hypothermia. 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.