2018 Pappenheimer Postdoctoral Travel Award Recipients


Adri Chakraborty – Texas A&M University School of Medicine

“Inducible Adipose Tissue VEGF-D Drives Lymphatic Expansion and Improves Systemic Insulin Sensitivity in Obesity”

We utilize lymphatic physiology to address how lymphatic circulation and interstitial flux changes in pathological states and during manipulations to the encompassing cell biology of a given vascularized tissue. We seek to correlate how VEGF-D alters adipose lymphatic density, nerve function, and inflammation in our mouse model during obese adipose expansion and will characterize these features in human adipose and skin samples. Our research approach incorporates a vast array of tools from protein analysis and lipidomics to tissue engineering and transgenic mouse model generation.


Victor Chatterjee – University of South Florida

“Characterization of Microparticle Generation from Blood and Endothelial Cells during Inflammatory Stimulation “

I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at USF Health in Tampa, FL. Under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah Yuan, I am studying how vascular endothelial cells release extracellular vesicles in response to different inflammatory stimuli, as in sepsis. Extracellular vesicles are important vehicles of intercellular communication by transferring a rich cargo of membrane bound receptor proteins, lipids, mRNAs and miRNAs from the "parent cell" to the "target cell" to regulate a diverse range of biological processesand can modulate the local and the systemic inflammatory response. I am currently investigating the quantitative and qualitative changes in extracellular vesicle generation by endothelial cells in cell culture models and in mouse models of sepsis. I also study the functional effects of endothelial extracellular vesicles on endothelial barrier function and how they influence other blood derived cells like neutrophils, monocytes and platelets. The above will help us understand how endothelial cells respond to sepsis and inflammation by releasing extracellular vesicles that can modulate endothelial permeability, immunity and coagulation in health and disease.


Feng Gao – Pennsylvania State University

Assessing Endothelial Cell Permeability and Transport Pathways via Biotin/FITC-Avidin Interaction in Cultured Endothelial Microchannel Networks Using Microfluidic Devices

My main project has been focused on further advancing the utility of microfluidic device, by applying biotin-avidin approach for cultured Endothelial Cells (ECs) in  device, and detect the spatial changes in EC permeability and differentiate transport pathways under control and stimulated conditions.  This approach could serve as a useful tool for assessing permeability properties of ECs that grow under continuous flow, a cell culture condition closer to that in vivo.


Miranda Good – University of Virginia

“Endothelial Cell Pannexin1 Modulates Severity of Ischemic Stroke by Regulating Cerebral Inflammation and Myogenic Tone”

My research currently is focused on the regulation of the cerebral vasculature and its role in determining stroke outcome. We are currently focusing in on the role of endothelial Panx1 during an ischemic stroke and its regulation of both arterial and venous cerebral vessels.


Anantha Kanugula – Northeast Ohio Medical University

“Novel non-canonical regulation of soluble VEGF/VEGFR2 signaling by mechanosensitive ion channel TRPV4 in endothelial cells”

Our laboratory’s (PI: Dr. Charles Thodeti) main focus is to understand the role ofmechanotransduction in the regulation of cardiac remodeling and vascular growth. To unravel these mechanisms, my work is primarily focused on mechanosensitive ion channel transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) and its role in cardiac fibroblasts differentiation in cardiac remodeling following myocardial infarction and regulation of endothelial function during angiogenesis. To dissect these mechanisms, we employ cutting edge cell and molecular biological, bioengineering techniques (FRET, Confocal/multi-photon microscopy, ECM gels of varying stiffness, cell stretching etc.) as well as various mouse models (global and tissue specific knockout; MI, TAC, tumor and retinal angiogenesis).


Natia Kelm – University of Louisville

“Improved diastolic dysfunction and coronary blood flow in aging following stromal vascular fraction therapy”

I received my MD in my birth country of Georgia, and in 2015, I received my PhD at the University of Louisville. I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow In the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at the University of Louisville.  My research interests are focused on the study of myocardial and microvascular regenerative medicine, age- and sex-specific coronary physiology, regulation of coronary blood flow, and the use of autologous cells for microvascular regeneration. I believe that adipose-derived cells could be utilized to treat vascular dysfunction and thereby decrease mortality and morbidity during aging.


Alex Marki – La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology

“Neutrophils form elongated shear-derived particles (SDP) via shedding tethers and slings”

I study how neutrophils form tethers while rolling on the vessel wall. Tethers stabilize rolling, thus their formation is important for successful neutrophil arrest on the vessel wall.





Stefano Tarantini – University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

“Cerebral microhemorrhages impair gait coordination in mice”

My research interests include mechanisms involved in age-related vascular cognitive impairment. In particular, the implications of hypertension-induced cerebral microhemorrhages and neurovascular uncoupling.



Huaqi Wang – Pennsylvania State University 

“The Interplay between Hyperresistinemia, Elevated ROS, and Hyperglycemia in Diabetic Rats and Their Roles in Diabetes-Associated Neutrophil Dysfunction “

My current research is about the mechanism of how the high level of Resistin influence the function of polymorphonuclear leukocytes.




Xinghai Xia – Pennsylvania State University

“Nrf2 Deficiency Exacerbates Oxidative Stress and Microvessel Susceptibility to Inflammation in Diabetic Rats”

My research is focused on 1) The mechanisms involved in diabetes-associated microvascular complications with focus on the roles of increased circulating microparticles in the development of microvascular dysfunction, 2) The impact of changing blood flow, i.e. mechanical forces, on endothelial cell signaling and microvascular barrier function and how pathologically impaired glycocalyx affects endothelial cell sensing shear stress and vascular barrier function under diabetic/obese conditions and 3) The mechanisms of ROS-induced microvascular complications and the interplay of ROS with nitric oxide and reactive nitrogen species in the regulation of microvessel permeability under pathological conditions.