The Rabinovitch/Bland Lab


Principal Investigators

Marlene Rabinovitch, MD
Dwight and Vera Dunlevie Professor of Pediatrics - Cardiology
Professor (by courtesy) of Developmental Biology
Staff Scientist, Vera Moulton Wall Center for Pulmonary Vascular Disease
email Dr. Rabinovitch

Dr. Rabinovitch joined Stanford University in the summer of 2002 as the Dwight and Vera Dunlevie Professor of Pediatric Cardiology, and staff scientist at the Vera Moulton Wall Center for Pulmonary Vascular Disease at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also Professor (by courtesy) of Developmental Biology. Dr. Rabinovitch is a graduate of McGill University Medical School in 1971, and served on the medical faculty at Harvard, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and at the University of Toronto where she was the Director of Cardiovascular Research.

Dr. Rabinovitch has received recognition in her field with numerous awards, the most recent being the 2010 Louis and Artur Lucian Award for Research in Circulatory Diseases, McGill University. In 2008, she received the American Thoracic Society Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishment. She is the recipient of the 2006 American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist Award, and in 2005 she was the The American Heart Association Dickinson Richards Lecturer. Previous awards include the 2004 Canadian Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH) Distinguished Lecture and Prize in Cardiovascular Sciences; the 2004 AHA Basic Research Prize; the University of Kentucky Gill Heart Institute Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cardiovascular Research (2003); the AHA Paul Dudley White International Lectureship Award (2002); a Research Achievement Award from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (1994); the Julius Comroe Lectureship from the American Physiological Society (1996), an Endowed Research Chair from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (1997); the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Award of Merit (1999); the Distinguished Scientist Award of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2000), and the McGill University Cushing Memorial Award in Pediatrics (1971).

Dr. Rabinovitch is currently a Member of the NIH/NHLBI Scientific Advisory Council to the Director and the Executive Committee of the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute. Dr. Rabinovitch is  a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the 4th World Congress of Pulmonary Circulation, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, the Pulmonary Circulation Council of the American Thoracic Society, and the Executive Council of the American Pediatric Society, and the She serves on the Advisory Committees of the MPI for Heart and Lung ResearchBoard of the Max Planck Society.

Research Program
Faculty Profile

Members of the Rabinovitch Laboratory:
Research Staff
Fellows and Students
Adminstrative Staff
Recent Alumni


Richard D BlandRichard D. Bland, MD
Stanford University School of Medicine
email Dr. Bland

Dr Bland is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover (1958), Yale University (BA, 1962) and Boston University School of Medicine (MD, 1966). He completed an internship and residency in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD (1966-69), followed by a 3-year stint as a US Army staff pediatrician and Chief of Newborn Medicine at Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii (1969-1972). During his military service, Dr Bland did several clinical studies that led to 4 published papers, one of which was a solo-authored paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. He twice received the Ogden C Bruton Award for research on the role of plasma proteins in neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. Dr Bland did a postdoctoral fellowship in lung vascular biology and newborn medicine at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California San Francisco (1973-74), where he became Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in 1975 and advanced to Professor of Pediatrics in 1984. An Established Investigator of the American Heart Association (1979-84), he was appointed to the Senior Staff of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF in 1982. Dr Bland’s research has focused on lung fluid balance during development and on the pathogenesis and treatment of acute and chronic neonatal lung injury. He did a 1-year research sabbatical at Oxford University (1982-3), where in collaboration with Dr Richard Boyd he discovered that events associated with labor cause an increase in lung epithelial Na+,K+-ATPase activity, which provides the driving force for clearance of liquid from the lungs during and after birth. In 1989, Dr Bland moved from UCSF to the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he was Fields Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Lung Biology until 2002, when he relocated to Stanford University as Professor of Pediatrics in the Cardiopulmonary Research Program and the Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine. Dr Bland received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Boston University School of Medicine (1996) and recently was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Medicine from Uppsala University in Sweden (2004) for his research related to lung fluid balance during development and pulmonary edema in the pathogenesis of newborn lung disease.

Research Program
Faculty Profile

Members of the Bland Laboratory:
Students, Fellows and Research Staff

Adminstrative Staff

Recent Alumni

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Research Staff - Rabinovitch Laboratory:

Lingli Wang, MD
Senior Research Associate, and Lab Manager
email Lingli

Lingli's photoDr. Lingli Wang joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s group in July 2003 as lab manager. Lingli received her M.D. degree from the Fourth Army Medical University in Xi’an, China. She completed her post-doctoral studies in the Stanford’s Department of Pediatrics in 1997. Lingli brings her 10 years of experience in life science research to the group. Her main responsibility is the maintenance and genotyping of the transgenic mouse lines produced and used in the different research projects.  In addition to managing the lab, Lingli also investigaes the cardiovascular phenptype that contributes to embryonic lethality in mice with deletion of BMPRII under the regulation of tissue specific promoters.
Lingli's project
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Aiqin Cao, PhD
Research Associate, Rabinovitch Lab
email Aiqin

Dr. Aiqin Cao received her PhD degree from Purdue University in 2007. She joined the lab in April 2011, following post-doctoral studies in Stanford’s Division of Endocrinology, where she studied the molecular mechanism of human oncostatin M (OM) mediated signal transductions in lipid metabolism. She identified long chain acyl-CoA synthetase-3 (ACSL3) as a molecular target for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta, and in a second project demonstrated that the suppression of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) expression by OM is a new mechanism that increases LDLR protein in liver cells.  Aiqin’s current project is studying the link between BMPR2 function and naturally occurring PPARgamma ligands, the nitro-fatty acids (NO2-FA) and the potential role of nitro-fatty acids in preserving PA vascular homeostasis. She is also working on the differentiation of endothelial cells from skin or lung cell IPSCs.

Silin Sa, PhDSilin Sa's picture
Reearch Assistant, Rabinovitch Lab
email Silin

Silin earned her PhD from UC Merced. Her thesis work was part of a project funded by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, entitled “Building Cardiac Tissue from Stem Cells and Natural Matrices”.  This project focuses on stem cell differentiation towards cardiovascular lineages for building 3D cardiovascular tissues with the differentiated cells. Silin received her B.S. degree in Bioengineering in 2005 from the South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China and her M.S. in Biotechnology from San Jose State University in 2007. Silin joined the lab in late 2012 and us working on the generation of IPSCs from skin and lung cells, and their differentiation into endothelial cells.

Matthew Bill
Research Assistant, Rabinovitch Lab
email Matt


Patricia A. de Rosario, RN
Clinical Research Coordinator for the PHBI project, Rabinovitch Lab
email Patricia

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Fellows and Students - Rabinovitch Laboratory

Toshie's pictureToshie Saito, MD
Post doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab
email Toshie

Dr. Toshie Saito received her MD degree from Gunma university graduate school of medicine in Japan in 2000, and completed her internal medicine residency at Tokyo University and related hospitals in 2004. She started her career in basic science at Tulane University’s department of physiology and hypertension center in 2007 and studied renin-angiotensin system. Toshie became interested in autoimmunity then she moved to division of Rheumatology at Louisiana State University. She moved to Stanford University and joined Dr. Marlene Rabinovitch lab in fall 2010.
Toshie’s research project is related to pulmonary hypertension and autoimmunity. Currently she is working on immunizing mice with target antigens and to test the hypothesis that whether these immunized mice will get augmented pulmonary hypertension. She is also interested in the viral relevance to autoimmunity. Her ultimate goal is to elucidate mechanism of pulmonary hypertension in terms of autoimmunity and contribute to early diagnosis and therapy..

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Nancy Ferreira TojaisNancy Ferreira Tojais, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab
email Nancy

Dr. Ferreira Tojais is a native of Portugal. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in Bordeaux, France. She graduated with a PhD from the University Victor Segalen, Bordeaux 2 in October 2010, and joined the Rabinovitch lab in April 2011. For her thesis research, she studied the Wnt/frizzled pathway and it's role in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, focusing on the role of the frizzled-7 receptor as a new player in vessel formation.  For her postdocrtoral project, Nancy investigates the interdependent roles of TGFbeta and BMP4 in regulating elastin fiber assembly in cultured smooth muscle cells and in transgenic mice.
Nancy's project

Caiyun Grace LiCaiyun Grace Li, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab
email Grace

Originally from Singapore/Taiwan, Dr. Li moved to New Zealand in 2002 for her tertiary studies. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand in 2010. Her Ph.D. study investigated the biological roles of a developmental gene family that encode the PAX transcriptional factors in cancer cell proliferation and survival.  Dr. Li is particularly fascinated by the multiple intertwined signaling cascades that work in concert to regulate many cellular processes. With this interest, she joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s lab in April 2011. Her postdoctoral project addresses the fundamental mechanisms that involve the production of nitrated fatty acids that underlie differential PPAR gamma mediated gene regulation in endothelial and smooth muscle cells.
Grace's project

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Pin-I Chen's picturePin-I Chen , PhD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab
email Pin-I

Dr. Pin-I Chen joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s lab in September 2011. She received her PhD degree in molecular cell biology at Washington University in 2009. Her thesis study focused on the regulation of endocytic trafficking and how this process influences epidermal growth factor receptor signaling and cell migration. Pin-I is interested in investigating whether specialized compartmentalization of the signaling molecules can induce cell responses in a “cellular context”-dependent manner. Her postdoctoral project aims to correlate amphetamine-stimulated G protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) signaling and BMPRII responses in the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Nathaly Sweeney's pictureNathaly Sweeney, MD, MPH
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab
email Nathaly

Dr. Sweeney earned her BS in Rehabilitation Services from Springfield College in Massachusetts, her MS degree in Biological Sciences from University of Texas at El Paso and her MD degree (2004) from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. In 2005 she obtained her MPH degree from Johns Hopkins University -School of Public Health. At El Paso, Dr. Sweeney investigated metal resistance mechanisms in Cyanobacteria, followed by two years in the laboratory of Dr. Dwain Thiele at UT Southwestern Medical center studying the role of Dipeptidyl Peptidase I in hepatocellular apoptosis. As a Stanley Scholar at Columbia she studied the role of the Serotonin 1A receptor in peri-natal neurogenesis and anxiety. Dr. Sweeney completed her residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 2008. She is currently a pediatric cardiology fellow here at Lucile Packard Children’s hospital at Stanford. In the lab, she studies the role of DNA damage response pathway activation in pulmonary arterial hypertension and the pulmonary vascular development in patients with tetralogy of Fallot and major aorto-pulmonary collaterals.

Jan K. Hennigs, MDJan Hennigs' picture
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab
email Jan

Dr. Hennigs joins the laboratory of Dr Marlene Rabinovitch as a post-doctoral fellow in October 2012.  Dr. Hennigs received his MD from Hamburg University, Germany In 2007, and completed a postgraduate program in molecular biology and a DFG-funded doctoral thesis at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg in 2009. Prior to joining the Rabinovitch group, he pursued postdoctoral training in molecular pathology and residency in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg - Eppendorf,  where he served as a Junior-PI in the Pulmonary Hypertension interdisciplinary research group. Dr Hennigs investigates P53, apoptosis and cell transformation.

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Dr Kazuya MiyagawaKazuya Miyagawa, MD, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow
, Rabinovitch Lab
email Kazuya

Dr. Miyagawa joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s lab as a post-doctoral fellow in May 2014. Dr. Miyagawa received his MD (2003) PhD in Cardiovascular Medicine (2010) from Kobe University School of Medicine in Kobe, Japan. He completed the training in cardiovascular medicine and internal medicine, and is a board certified member of The Japanese Circulation Society and The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine.  His doctoral study focused on the role of endothelin system in doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy and its association with mitochondrial biogenesis. He pursued the research of pulmonary hypertension in Kobe University Hospital prior to joining Dr. Rabinovitch’s group. His current project focuses on the metabolic interaction between blood vessel cells in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension. His post-doctoral training is supported by Japan Heart Foundation and The Uehara Memorial Foundation.

Dr. Shalina TaylorShalina Taylor, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow
, Rabinovitch Lab
email Shalina

Dr. Shalina Taylor received her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014. Her PhD study focused on the role of myeloperoxidase during neutrophil directional sensing. Shalina is interested in studying neutrophils and other inflammatory cells during pulmonary hypertension. Her postdoctoral work aims to determine whether neutrophil functions are abnormal in pulmonary arterial hypertension, and if this is further exaggerated by interaction with pulmonary arterial endothelial cells.

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Students, Fellows and Research Staff - Bland Lab:

Robert Ertsey, MSc
Senior Research Associate, Bland Lab
email Bob

Bob Ertsey joined Dr. Bland's group in 2004. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Biochemistry and from UC Santa Barbara with an M.Sc. in Genetics. From 1983 to 2004 he was a Research Associate in the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UC San Francisco where he developed in vitro models of lung maturation and studied the effects of chemical, mechanical and apoptotic factors on fetal lung development. More recently, Bob published a study showing that poly(ADP)polymerase-1 [(PARP)-1], previously associated with apoptosis in lung, is maximally expressed in late gestation, and controls the rate of lung differentiation. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Performance Award of the Cardiovascular Research Institute (2000) and University Service Award (2004).
Ertsey CV


Sana's photSana Mujahid, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow, Bland Lab
email Sana

Dr. Sana Mujahid joined the Rabinovitch/Bland lab in August 2013. She earned her BS in Biology from Christian Brothers University in Memphis and her PhD in Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology from the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University in Boston. During her time at Tufts, Sana investigated how miRNAs are regulated across gestation and between sexes during the late pseudoglandular to early saccular stage of lung development. Her graduate work also focused on understanding the role of miRNAs and Hox proteins in regulating lung airway and vascular development, and how these molecules are altered by clinical therapies given to premature infants.  For her postdoctoral research, she is interested in investigating how miRNAs are deregulated as a result of ventilator induced lung injury, and addressing how Elafin may prevent this deregulation.


Juliet's pictureJuliet Masumi
Research Assistant, Bland Lab
email Juliet

Juliet Masumi joined the Bland lab in February 2014. She earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.S. in Religious Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Following graduation, from 2010 to 2013, she worked as a Research Assistant at the University of California, Irvine, investigating the function of the Fibronectin type-III domain containing 3 (FNDC3) family of gene products during mammalian development. She primarily focused on the basis for neonatal lethality present in Fndc3b-mutant mice through analysis of cardio-pulmonary histopathology.

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Administrative Staff - Rabinovitch/ Bland Lab:

Michelle's photo

Michelle Fox, BA, RVT
Administrative Associate to Drs. Marlene Rabinovitch and Richard Bland
(650) 723-8239 - Office Phone
(650) 723-6700 - Facsimile
email Michelle

Michelle joined the Dr Rabinovitch/Bland group as an Administrative Associate in September 2004. She received a BA in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 1995. Immediately after graduating, Michelle entered the Veterinary field as an Assistant and continued to learn and received her Registered Veterinary Technician license in 2001. Prior to working at Stanford, she was the head nurse at Peninsula Equine Medical Center in Menlo Park where her duties included everything from front office work to administering and monitoring anesthesia on 1000+ lb horses. She continues to be a part of their surgery team one day a week and also works one Saturday a month at a small animal hospital in Menlo Park.

In addition to her love and career with animals, Michelle also enjoys being part of a team. Her fifteen years in the veterinary field has made her proficient at working with doctors, students, and staff members. Her degree and background in the medical field are useful tools to bring to the table. She prides herself on being proactive, organized and having a positive attitude. When Michelle is not at work, she is either exercising, playing with her dog "Tazmin", riding her horse "Lady", scrapbooking, or sailing into the sunset with her husband on their 27 foot Catalina.

Michal's photoMichal Bental Roof, PhD
Academic and Research Program Officer
(650) 724-9589 - Office Phone
(650) 723-6700 – Facsimile
email Michal

Dr. Michal Bental Roof joined Dr Rabinovitch/Bland group as Academic and Research Program Officer in September 2002. In that capacity she oversees grant proposal development, manuscript preparation, and regulatory issues (IRB, APLAC, biosafety protocols). She is also the site coordinator for the Stanford PHBI Transplant Center, and the coordinator for the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Science Concentration of the School of Medicine.

Michal holds a BSc in Chemistry (with distinction) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and MSc and PhD Degrees in the Life Sciences from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. She received a Weizmann Institute’s Special Distinction Award for MSc students, and was a recipient of the prestigious Chaim Weizmann Post-Doctoral Fellowship.  Michal has worked in a diversity of fields within biology and basic biomedical research, as well as in chemistry. She brings to the group her experience from her previous position at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was Scientific Development Administrator of the Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME) where she worked with the Director on Institute initiatives and interdisciplinary special projects, including development of strategies to create proposals for unique funding opportunities, and the design and implementation of IME seminars, conferences and symposia to facilitate the integration of medical sciences and engineering.

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Recent Alumni Pursuing Research Careers:

Nils pictureNils Nickel, MD, PhD
Post-doctoral fellowPost-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2011-14
Current position:
Resident, Vanderbilt Univeristy School of Medicine

Dr. Nils Nickel received his MD degree from Medical School Hannover where he was a first year Resident in Pulmonary Medicine before he joined Prof. Rabinovitch’s group. Nils participated in the StrucMed Program of Hannover Biomedical Research School with a focus on circulating Biomarkers in Pulmonary Hypertension. Nils joined the lab in 2012, and his  research project focused on innate immunity in pulmonary Hypertension.

Rachel Hopper's pictureRachel Hopper, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2012-14
Current position: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Hopper earned her BA in Molecular Biology from Pomona College and MD from the University of Michigan. While in medical school, she participated in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's NIH Research Scholars program, in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Balaban in the NHLBI. There she used proteomics techniques to study the role of signaling pathways in the regulation of mitochondrial energy metabolism during cardiac ischemia. Dr. Hopper went on to complete a residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston, and she completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Stanford. In the lab, she used induced pluripotent stem cells to study pulmonary hypertension in patients with congenital heart disease.

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Headshot of Isabel DieboldIsabel Diebold, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2013-14
Current position: Pediatrician, Medical Genetics Center MGZ Munich

Dr. Isabel Diebold, MD, is a board certified pediatrician who joined the Rabinovitch/Bland group in January 2013. Dr. Diebold graduated from the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, with a degree of doctor of Medicine, and earned her Habilitation 2012 from the Medical School of the Technical University Munich. She completed her Residency in Pediatrics at the German Heart Centre Munich, the Department of Pediatrics Klinikum Schwabing/Munich and Klinikum Rechts der Isar of the Technical University Munich, Germany. At the institute of Prof. Agnes Görlach, MD, Department of Experimental and Molecular Pediatric Cardiology at the German Heart Centre Munich, she focused on the regulation of NADPH oxidases and Hypoxia-inducible factors in vascular cells in response to different stimuli associated with vascular remodeling such as hypoxia, the coagulation factor thrombin and the vasoactive peptide urotensin-II. Her research in our lab focused on DNA damage response in pulmonary artery hypertension and critical pathways through which bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) signaling protects the pulmonary artery vasculature. Dr. Diebold was funded by a grant from the German Heart Foundation.

Stefanie Preuss' pictureStefanie Preuss, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Bland Lab, 2012-14
Current position: Pediatrician and Pediatric Intensive Care Neonatologist, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Germany

Dr Stefanie Preuss joined our lab in April 2012. Supported by a 2-year grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG), her research focused on novel treatment strategies to promote formation of alveoli and micro-vessels in developing lungs in a neonatal ventilation mouse model. Previously, she conducted experimental research on improvement of surfactant therapy in a neonatal piglet model of acute respiratory failure.

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Mark Kaschewich's photoMark Kaschwich, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Bland Lab, 2012-14
Current position: General Surgery Specialist, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital Kiel, Germany

Dr. Mark Kaschwich received his MD degree from the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel Germany. In Feb 2012 hecompleted his residency in general surgery at the University Hospital Kiel (UKSH). He has an additional qualification in Emergency Medicine and is trained as an ATLS-instructor. Beside his clinical work he conducted research focussing on the biodistribution of the human elastase inhibitor elafin.
Mark joined our Lab in April 2012 to continue his work on elafin. His project investigated the effect of elafin on lung injury caused by mechanical ventilation with a special focus on angiogenesis.

Miguel Alejandre-Alcazar, MD, PhDMiguel's photo
Post-doctoral fellow, Bland Lab 2012-14
Current position: Resident, Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Cologne, Germany

Dr. Miguel Alejandre Alcázar received his MD in 2006 from the Justus-Liebig University Giessen, School of Medicine, where he conducted both in vivo and in vitro studies on the role of TGFβ/BMP signalling in the pathogenesis of hyperoxia-induced lung injury in newborn mice. This was followed by residency training in Pediatrics at the University Hospital of Erlangen (2006-2010). He then went on to study perinatal inflammation and its long-term impact on pulmonary and renal function in the Interdisciplinary Program of Molecular Medicine (IPMM) at the University of Cologne, where he earned his PhD. His research in the Rabinovitch/Bland lab was supported by a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG). to study the role of growth factors, specifically TGF-β and EGF signalling, and transcription factors of cell differentiation, in the pathogenesis of ventilator-induced lung injury newborn mice.

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Anne Hiigendorff, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Bland Lab, 2008-10
Current position: Professor and Program Leader, Comprehensive Pneumology Center, Munich, Germany

Dr. Anne Hilgendorff joined the Rabinovitch/Bland group in May 2008 with a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG). She graduated from the Justus-Liebig University School of Medicine in Giessen, Germany with a degee of Doctor of Medicine, and  completed her Residency in Pediatrics at the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen and the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. She is currently pursuing a Fellowship in Neonatology at the Center of Perinatal Medicine Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.  During her Residency in Pediatrics and following Fellowship in Neonatology she  focused on acute and chronic pulmonary adaptation in the term and preterm newborn infant.  Through clinical studies and experimental approaches she investigated the role of surfactant proteins and further members of the innate immune system as well as markers of the inflammatory response in the injured newborn lung.   As an investigator of the Giessen Research Center in Infectious Diseases, part of the Human Genome Network, she studied preterm infants suffering from early-onset sepsis and respiratory distress syndrome in genetic association studies and non-hypothesis thriven approaches using micro-array chip technology. With the Bland Lab, Dr Hilgendorff is investigating changes in gene expression and lung morphology following long-term mechanical ventilation in transgenic and non-transgenic newborn mice.   

Chris RohodesChristopher Rhodes, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2011-13
Current position:
Jr. Research Fellow, Imperial college, London, UK

Chris Rhodes received a first class BA degree in Natural Sciences: Pharmacology from Cambridge University in the UK in 2007. He went on to complete his UK MRC-funded PhD studies at Imperial College London, investigating the role of iron homeostasis in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. Following this, in 2011 he moved to the US to join the Rabinovitch laboratory to continue basic and translational scientific research into the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension.

Edda's pictureEdda Spiekerkoetter, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2005-06 and 2009-2012
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine), Stanford University School of Medicine
email Edda

Dr. Edda Spiekerkoetter rejoined our lab in September 2009 as a Scholar in the Stanford K12 Career Development Program in Genetics and Genomics of Pulmonary diseases. Dr. Spiekerkoetter received a B.Sc. from the University in Tuebingen, Germany in 1988, and her M.D. from the University of Freiburg in 1995, Germany. Following a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Hannover Medical School, Germany, she joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s lab (2002-06) as a postdoctoral fellow, funded by a fellowship award from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (2003-05). Dr. Spiekerkoetter continued her clinical training with fellowships in Pulmonary and Critical Care (2007-08) and in Critical Care (2008-09) at the Stanford University Medical Center. She is Instructor of Medicine in the department of Pulmonary and Critical Care, and is an Attending Physician in Pulmonary Hypertension, the focus of her basic and translational research.

Edda's current project is to develop an assay for screening FDA approved drugs and small molecules for their potential to induce BMPRII signaling. She is working closely with the High-throughput Bioscience Center at Stanford. She is also interested in micro RNA expression in pulmonary hypertension and the potential of microRNAs to regulate BMPRII expression. A third project investigates elafin and EGF-receptor induced regression of pulmonary artery occlusion in an organ culture system of lungs from patients transplanted for PAH.
Academic Profile

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Dr Sasaki's pictureAkihito Sasaki, MD, PhD
Post-doctoral fellowPost-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 201-2012.
Current position: Assistant Professor, Dept of Pediatrics and Developmental Biology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences

Dr. Akihito Sasaki joined Prof. Rabinovitch’s group in September 2011. Dr. Sasaki received his M.D. from Tokyo Medical and Dental University School of Medicine in 1995. He began his residency training in Pediatrics, Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital and completed subspecialty training in Pediatric Cardiology in Tokyo Women’s Medical University in 2002. He went on to obtain a Ph.D. degree at Tokyo Medical and Dental University Graduate School in 2007, focused on relationship of decreased NO and endogenous NO synthase inhibitor in pulmonary hypertension rats. From 2007 – 2011 Dr Sasaki worked as a pediatric cardiologist and continued to conduct research on PH at the department of Pediatrics of Tokyo Medical and Dental University. Dr. Sasaki is investigating the therapeutical effect of treatment with the elastase inhibitor elain and with apelin in a rat model for pulmonary hypertension.

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Vinicio de Jesus PerezVinicio A. de Jesus Perez, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2005-11
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine), Stanford University School of Medicine
email Vinicio

Dr. Vinicio A. de Jesus Perez was born and raised in Puerto Rico where he completed a BS in Biology in 1996 and obtained his MD at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences campus in 2000. He then moved to Boston where he completed a three year residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. After the end of his residency in 2003, he continued subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver; it was during this time that Vinicio developed an interest in pulmonary hypertension and decided to pursue a career in basic science research. On July 2004 he transferred to Stanford University where he is currently a staff physician in the adult pulmonary hypertension service.  In January 2005, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Marlene Rabinovitch to pursue his interest in pulmonary hypertension research.
Academic Profile       

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JJoana Peterson's photooanna Peterson, B.Eng, PhD
 Research Associate, Bland Lab, 2011-2012
Current Position: Editor, American Journal Experts

 Joanna Peterson joined the Bland lab in January 2011. She graduated from the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia with a BEng in mechanical engineering (hons I) and a Masters in biomedical engineering. She will graduate with a PhD from the University of Sydney later this year. Joanna’s PhD research on tendon degeneration used tissue culture methods and in vivo animal models to alter loading patterns in tendon, and analyze individual regions of tendon from molecular, biochemical, histological and mechanical perspectives. In the Bland Lab, Joanna will utilize these same methodologies to investigate the effect of long-term mechanical ventilation on the lung tissue of newborn mice.

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Picture of Yumee Kim  Yu-Mee Kim, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2006-10
Current Position: Research Scientist, Pharmaceutical

Dr. Yu-Mee Kim graduated from the Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, Korea with a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering (Environmental Health Science) in 2001. In 2006, she graduated from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill with a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering (Molecular Toxicology).  Dr. Kim's Ph.D. thesis research, conducted at the UNC and the US Environmental Protection Agency, focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying proinflammatory responses of primary human bronchial epithelial cells after the exposure to air pollutants, including metals and nanocarbon particles.  Dr. Kim was a recipient of a DAAD scholarship (German Academic Exchange Service, 2000), a Society of Toxicology/Inhalation Specialty Section Student Award (2006), and a North Carolina Society of Toxicology Student Award (2006).   Her postdoctoral research identified the serine elastase elevated in pulmonary vascular disease, and a second project investigated the role of microRNAs in the development of pulmonary vascular disease in mice.  Dr. Kim's post doctoral research was  supported by American Heart Association Western States Affiliation Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2009).

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Hirofumi SawadaHirofumi Sawada, MD, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2007-10
Current position: Assistant Professor, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, Japan

Dr. Hirofumi Sawada joined Prof. Rabinovitch’s group in August 2007.  Dr. Sawada had graduated from Mie University School of Medicine, Mie, Japan, in 1993 with an M.D. degree and began his residency training in the department of Pediatrics, Mie University Hospital.  He completed three-year training in pediatric cardiology in the National Cardiovascular Center, Osaka, Japan in 1996. He returned to Mie University in 2000, and joined the pulmonary hypertension research group.  Dr. Sawada obtained the Ph.D. degree at Mie University Graduate School of Medicine in 2007 with a thesis titled:  “The role of a transcription factor NF-kB in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.“  His zest for pursuing his research interests on pediatric cardiovascular disorders and pulmonary circulation brought him to Stanford.  Dr. Sawada’s research focused on hemodynamic and biochemical characterization of transgenic mice with conditional targeted deletion of transcription factor AML-1.  His post-doctoral training at Stanford was supported by the department of Pediatrics of Mie University School of Medicine and the Japanese Society of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.

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Ying-Ju LaiYing-Ju Lai, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow Rabinovitch Lab, 2009-2010
Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Respiratory Therapy, Chang Gung University, Taiwan

Dr. Ying-Ju Lai joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s group in August 2009. Ying-Ju graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Justus Liebig in Giessen, Germany in 2009.  Her Ph.D. research, conducted at the University of Giessen lung Center (2004-2009) focused on the prostanoid signaling in pulmonary arterial hypertension. She obtained her Master degree from National Taiwan University 2002, and In 2003-04 was an Associate Researcher at the Biomedical Engineering Centre of the  Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan, where she worked on the development of a drug delivery system for anti-lung cancer gene therapy.  Ying-Ju's research focused on the regulation of elastin production and assembly in pulmonary hypertension.

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Molong Li's pictureMolong Li
Undergraduate Student, Rabinovitch Lab, 2008-2010
Currently a Medical student, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Molong Li joined the lab in 2008 whilst pursuing a bachelor of science degree in Biomedical Computation (graduated in 2010) as a Stanford undergraduate. He worked closely with Dr. Tero-Pekka Alastalo studying downstream targets of BMPRII and their involvement in pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Kakoli ParaiKakoli Parai, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow, Bland Lab, 2008-10
Current position: Research scientist, NY area

Dr. Kakoli Parai joined the Bland Lab in January 2008. She graduated with a B.S. degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Nagpur University, India and a Ph.D. in Cardiovascular Physiology & Pharmacology from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada in 2004. During her first postdoctoral study at Northwestern University she received NIH postdoctoral grant from NHLBI (2006-2008). During her time in the Bland lab, she investigated changes in blood vessel expression following long-term mechanical ventilation in newborn mice.

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Tero-Pekka Alastalo, MD, PhD Ter0-Pekka Alastalo
Post-doctoral Fellow, Rabinovitch lab, 2007-09
Current Position: Pediatric Cardiologist and Principal Investigator, Helsinki University Hospital, Finland; Chief Medical officer, General Manager, Blueprint Genetics

Dr. Tero-Pekka Alastalo was a postdoctoral fellow in the Rabinovitch lab from 2007-2009.  Born and raised in Finland, he graduated from the University of Turku ( in 2001, with an MD/PhD degree.  His PhD research, conducted with Prof. Lea Sistonen in the Turku Centre for Biotechnology (, focussed on the transcriptional regulation of heat shock response.  Upon graduation, Dr Alastalo began his specialization in Pediatrics in the Turku University Hospital and finished his 6-year training in 2007. During his training he underwent additional training in Pediatric Cardiology at the University Hospital of Helsinki and the Sahlgrens University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. He completed a clinical fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology at the Helsinki University Hospital.

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Dr AlviraCristina Alvira, MD
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2004-09
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics - Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Stanford University
email Cristina

Dr. Alvira graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Medicine. She is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. Cristina and recently completed her Residency in Pediatrics at Stanford University, and is currently pursuing a Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at Stanford University.  Dr. Alvira's research focuses on maturational differences in nuclear factor kappa B activation in murine lung in response to systemic lipopolysaccharide.  More

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Lucia MokresLucia M. Mokres, DVM
Post-doctoral fellow, Bland Lab, 2006-08.
Current position: Senior Clinical Scientist, Abbott Vascular - Structural Heart
Co-Chair, AWIS Mentoring Committee
Co-Director, Medicine and Horsemanship Program, Stanford School of Medicine

Dr. Lucia Mokres graduated from the University of California at San Diego in 1999 with a BS in Physiology and Neuroscience. In 2003, she graduated cum laude from the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences with a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship in equine medicine and surgery at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center (Los Olivos, CA) in 2004, followed by a year-long position as lead intern at Peninsula Equine Medical and Surgical Group Practice in Menlo Park, CA. She is a member of the Society of Phi Zeta, the veterinary honor society. Her past research has included studies on oxidative stress in horses with large colon volvulus and colitis, and oxidative stress in critically ill equine neonates. Dr. Mokres investigated changes in gene expression and lung morphology following long-term mechanical ventilation in newborn mice.

esrine El-Bizri, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2000-07
Current position: Scientist, CV Therapeutics, Palo Alto, California

Dr. Nesrine El-Bizri joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s group in Toronto in 2001, and relocated with her to Stanford in 2002. Dr. El-Bizri graduated with a B.S. in Biology and M.Sc. in Physiology from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada. She won the first prize Evelyn MacGlowyn Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (2001), and is supported by an American Heart Association (Pulmonary Hypertension Association) Post-doctoral fellowship (2001-2003). Dr. El-Bizri's research focused on the roles of Mts-1 and the BMP type II receptor in the pathobiology of pulmonary vascular disease.

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Christophe GuignabertChristophe Guignabert, PhD

Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2007
Current position: Scientist, INSERM Unit 841, Creteil, France

Dr. Christophe Guignabert graduated from the University of Paris XII-Val de Marne, France. Dr. Guignabert's research focuses on the role the microtubule associated protein, light chain 3 (LC3) in pulmonary vascular disease. By interaction with the adenylate uridylate-rich element (ARE) sequences, LC3 regulates ARE-mRNAs translation of a wide variety of proteins that regulate cellular growth, migration, and differentiation. In addition, Christophe studied transgenic mice with conditional targeted deletion of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptor type 1A and Peroxisome Proliferation-Activated Receptor (PPAR)-gamma, to assess the respective roles of these factors in the pathobiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Laura H. Rubinos, BSLaura Rubinos
Visiting Student (Sarnoff Fellowship), Rabinovitch Lab, 2006-07
Current position: Medical Student, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Laura Rubinos was awarded a Sarnoff Cardiovascular Foundation Research Fellowship to spend a year learning about research and developing her own project in the basic sciences.  Laura's project focused on the interaction of PPAR-gamma with signaling pathways in the vasculature, and how its deletion specifically in smooth muscle cells influences the development of pulmonary hypertension. Laura used a mouse model do examine these effects and supplemented this data with in vitro studies from cells harvested from this model. This experience, coupled with her previous Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship, has definitely opened up an interest in research that Laura hopes to continue throughout her career.

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Janine M Bekker-Powers, PhDJanine M Bekker-Powers
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch lab, 2006-07
Current position: Scientist, FivePrime, South San Francisco, CA

Dr. Janine Powers graduated from UC San Diego with a BS in Biology, and from UC Los Angeles with a Ph.D. from the Molecular Biology Institute where she was a recipient of the Cellular and Molecular Biology training grant. Dr. Powers research  focused on the microtubule associated protein, light chain 3 and its role in pulmonary vascular disease.

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Nirupama Deshpande , PhDNiru Deshpande
Post-doctoral Fellow, Rabinovitch Lab 2004-06

Current position: Research Associate, Stanford University

Dr. Nirupama Deshpande graduated from the National Centre for Biological Research, TIFR Bangalore, India with a MS in Molecular Biology, and obtained her PhD in Drosophila Neurobiology from the University of Mainz, Germany. In her present position, Dr. Deshpande investigated the role of microtubule associated protein, light chain 3 (LC3), in mouse development. Niru worked on developing a system for stable siRNA transaction in cell culture to test the hypothesis that LC3 plays a role in neural crest cell migration/differentiation.

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Georg Hansmann, MDGeorg Hansmann photo
Post-doctoral Fellow, Rabinovitch lab, 2004-06
Current position: Physician Scientist & Clinical Fellow,
Department of Cardiology, Children’s Hospital Boston,
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Georg graduated from Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany, in 1999, and completed the United States Medical Licensing Examination in 2001. He has pursued clinical training, with emphasis on Neonatology, Pediatric Cardiology and Critical Care, at Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, at the German Heart Center/Technical University Munich, and at UC San Francisco (2000-2004, 2006-2008). Georg is board certified in Pediatrics (US, GER), Neonatology (GER) and Neonatal Emergency Medicine (GER). He performed cardiovascular research in the Department of Pharmacology in Freiburg (thesis: 1995-1999), and at the Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin (PostDoc: 2000-2001). His thesis on vascular P2 receptors (“summa cum laude”) awarded him the Albrecht Fleckenstein Prize in 1999. Georg is a recipient of an AHA/PHA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award (2004-2006). He was awarded the 2006 AHA Cournand & Comroe Young Investigator Prize in Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care for studies performed while in the Rabinovitch lab. Georg has been enrolled in the Physician Scientist Track at UCSF Children’s Hospital (2006-2008), and continued to work with Marlene Rabinovitch and colleagues on PAH research projects, for which he received the SPR Research Award in 2008 and a NIH Keystone Scholarship in 2009.   Georg’s research focused on clinically relevant links between insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and pulmonary arterial hypertension, i.e. BMP-Receptor II, PPAR-gamma and Apolipoprotein E (Apo E) pathways, and their crosstalks with PDGF-BB and Wnt signaling, in human pulmonary artery cells and related transgenic mouse models.

Stefan SchellongStefan Schellong's photo
Visiting Researcher, Rabinovitch Lab, 2005
Current position: Medical Student
, Heidelberg Medical School, Germany

Stefan studied business administration in Mannheim, Germany, including semesters in Cambridge and Shanghai. After earning a diploma in business administration in 2002, Stefan enrolled as a medical student in Heidelberg Medical School, Germany. During his time in our lab, Stefan worked on his doctoral thesis concerning the role of the transcription factor PPARgamma in endothelial and smooth muscle cells and its impact on pulmonary vascular disease. His doctoral thesis is supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Funds, Germany.

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Roham Zamanian, MDRoham's photo
Post-doctoral fellow, Rabinovitch Group, 2005
Current position: Associate Professor, Department of Medicine - Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Stanford

Roham graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 1994 with a B.S. (honors) in biological Sciences. Before entering medical school in 1995, Roham concluded his research in cellular and developmental biology on neural crest migration with Dr. Marianne Bronner-Fraser. After receiving his M.D. degree in 1999 from UCI College of Medicine, Roham completed a successful residency and board certification in internal medicine at UCI Medical Center. During his senior resident year and through his first year of fellowship in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at UCI Medical Center, Roham's research project focused on measurement of real time continuous airways resistance in intubated patients in the intensive care unit. After transferring to Stanford University Medical Center in 2004, Roham continued his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care with a focus on pulmonary hypertension, as the E-Bay pulmonary vascular fellow at Stanford through the Vera Moulton Wall Center.  Dr. Zamanian investigates the role and expression of the Mts1 in patients with severe pulmonary hypertension. More

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Berit Jacobson
, BS
Research Assistant, Bland Lab, 2003-05
Currently Graduate Student, University of Washington, Seattle

Berit JacobsonBerit Jacobson joined Dr. Bland's group as a research assistant in 2003. Berit graduated in 2002 from The University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology and Cognitive Science.  Berit investigated changes in gene expression due to prolonged lung stretch in newborn mice, and set up the systems used in the lab for ventilating newborn mice.

Eliana Martinez, MD
Post-doctoral Fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2004-05
Currently in a research position in Germany.

Eliana MartinezDr.  Martinez graduated from the University of Antioquia, Colombia, in 1999 with a degree of Doctor in Medicine and Surgery. Eliana’s research focused on the role of bone morphogenetic protein receptor II (BMP-RII) mutations in the pathobiology of pulmonary vascular disease. Specifically, she investigated how the knock down of BMP-RII influences endothelial and smooth muscle cell differentiation from embryonic stem cells, and genomic and functional profile with respect to proliferation, migration and susceptibility to apoptosis. Eliana was also involved in a Translational Medicine project in which she is performing confocal microscopy to elucidate the role of endothelial cell precursors in reestablishing the tumor vasculature following radiation.

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Sandra Merklinger, CNS/N., MN, PhD
Ph.D. Candidate, Rabinovitch Lab, 2000-04
Current position: Cardiovascular Research, Hospital for Sick Children, and the University of Toronto.

Sandra MerklingerSandra  graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, conducting her research at Stanford University. Sandra joined Dr. Rabinovitch’s group in Toronto in 2000 and came to Stanford in the summer of 2002. Sandra received a Honours B.Sc. in Nursing and a Master of Nursing (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program) from the University of Toronto in Canada. Prior to her arrival at Stanford, Sandra was a Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Practitioner in the Cardiac Program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Sandra received numerous Graduate student awards, including University of Toronto Fellowships (1998, 2002), Ontario Graduate Studentship in Science and Technology (2000, 2001), Hospital for Sick Children’s Alma Rae Fellowes Scholarships (1999, 2000), Heart and Stroke Foundation Fellowship (1999), Lorne Phoenix Graduate Award of the Heart and Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence in Toronto (2000), and an Institute of Medical Science/University of Toronto Merit Award (2000). She is a Member of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honour Society. Sandra’s research focused on the Role of avb3 Integrin and Matrix Metalloproteinase Antagonists in the Regression of Pulmonary Vascular Disease.

Allan Lawrie, PhD
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Rabinovitch Lab, 2002-04
Current Position: Russell Fellow, Cardiovascular Research Unit , University of Sheffield, UK

Allan LawrieDr. Allan Lawrie graduated from Napier University (Edinburgh, Scotland) in 1996 with a BSc (Hon) and The University of Sheffield (Sheffield, England) in 2001 with a PhD. He was a recipient of Stanford University School of Medicine Dean's Fellowship award for post-doctoral scientists (2003-04). Allan’s research focused on the investigation into the role of serotonin in the production and release of Mts1 from pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. Mts1 is a member of the S100 family of proteins and was originally found to be important in metastasis of breast cancer.

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Eric Shinwell, MD
Visiting Researcher, Bland Lab, summer 2004
Director of Neonatology at Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.

Eric ShinwellDr. Shinwell has conducted randomized clinical trials of therapeutic interventions in neonatal lung disease and has recently identified the relationship between postnatal steroid therapy and cerebral palsy.  A recipient of the 2004 recipient of the Stanford Israeli Visiting Professorship, Dr. Shinwell joined Bland's laboratory. He investigaed  the relationship between various forms of ventilation in a neonatal mouse model and the expression of genes controlling angiogenesis and alveolarization.

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