Experimental Pathology

The Experimental Pathology Laboratory at Methodist Research Institute is performing research in vascular biology related to native and transplant-associated atherosclerosis. The role of inflammatory molecules such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 upon development of chronic rejection following solid organ transplantation, as well as the role those molecules play in native atherosclerosis using an animal model of atherosclerosis in mice are under study.

The Experimental Pathology Laboratory performs research on the roles of endothelial activation and coagulation upon development and progression of atherosclerotic disease using the human transplant model of atherosclerosis. This human model of atherosclerosis allows for the study of possible pathogenetic mechanisms participating in the generation of atherosclerotic disease in few years instead in decades that would be required studying the spontaneous disease in the general population.

The laboratory is also studying the role of inflammatory markers and development of obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) following lung transplantation. OB is characterized by extensive bronchiolar fibroproliferation that results in small airway submucosal fibrosis and ultimately luminal obliteration, a process similar to heart transplant-associated atherosclerosis.

Experimental Pathology is also looking at the relationship between inflammation and atherosclerosis in pediatric heart transplantation in collaboration with Riley Hospital. These studies will open new avenues to understand the pathogenesis of chronic rejection of solid organ transplants in children and will allow new opportunities to introduce new therapies in order to mitigate or impede long-term rejection.

The Division of Experimental Pathology is composed by a Senior Investigator, one Assistant Scientist and four Research Assistants. It offers the expertise required to develop studies using immunohistochemical techniques among several other techniques. It also provides through the expertise of a group of five collaborators the possibility of using animal models such as the mouse model of atherosclerosis, which has been developed in our laboratory and is actually used to perform our investigations in vivo. Our experience with cell cultures of endothelial and cancer cells among others, provides experience to be able to perform numerous in vitro studies.