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  • Congratulations to Dr. Mark Ormiston – recipient of the Research Leaders’ Fund – Queen’s University – Office of Vice-Principal (Research)

    Published Mon Apr 4th 2016

    The Department of Medicine congratulates Dr. Mark Ormiston on being chosen for the "Research Leaders' Fund Application!

    Dr. Ormiston outlines below a summary of the grant awarded - "Generation of blood outgrowth endothelial cells for the study of immune dysfunction in pulmonary arterial hypertension":

    My lab is focused on understanding how interactions between the endothelium and circulating cells of the immune system influence vascular structure, growth and repair.  This work is centered primarily on the study of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a disease of the lung vasculature that is marked by the formation of obstructive cellular lesions, leading to elevated pulmonary vascular resistance and eventual death due to right-sided heart failure. PAH is also strongly associated with immune dysfunction, both in the setting of autoimmune diseases and viral infection.

    In order to study the contribution of the pulmonary endothelium to immune dysfunction in PAH, we have developed a technique for the generation of blood outgrowth endothelial cells (or BOECs) from patient blood samples. These cells are useful surrogates for patient-derived pulmonary endothelial cells, allowing us to study endothelial gene expression and functional responses in culture. The goals of the Leader’s fund grant are
    To generate a bank of BOEC lines from PAH patients and healthy controls in for use in our studies (Year 1)

    To examine how these cells contribute to the well-documented immune phenotype in PAH patients (Year 2)

    Patient-derived BOECs can also be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which have the broad developmental potential of embryonic stem cells, but are generated from adult tissues. The capacity to generate iPSCs from patient BOECs will allow us to study the mechanisms of PAH in a wide range of cellular models.

    Additional information on the Research Leaders' Fund can be obtained in the Queen's Gazette -  Monday, April 4, 2016.