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VMI
 


Vascular Medicine Institute
University of Pittsburgh
BST E1240
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-383-5853
Fax: 412-648-5980

Sundd Laboratory


Contact

Lab phone: 412-648-9987

Lab address: E1200 Biomedical Science Tower (Starzl BST), 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261


AVAILABLE POSITION(S):


UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: The Sundd Lab is looking for a Bioengineering or Computer Science undergraduate trainee who is interested in image processing and analysis of fluorescence microscopic images using MATLAB and related image analysis platforms. Please contact Dr. Sundd if you are interested.


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Sickle Cell Disease is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder, which affects at least 100,000 Americans and millions world-wide. Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) is the most common form of SCD that is caused by a substitution of hydrophobic valine (Val) for hydrophilic glutamic acid (Glu) at the sixth position in the beta globin chain. Under hypoxic conditions, the mutated hemoglobin (HbS) undergoes reversible polymerization to form long fibers, which cause RBCs to sickle. It is believed that sickle RBCs (sRBCs) get trapped in small blood vessels along with leukocytes and platelets to cause vaso-occlusion. Vaso-occlusion is the predominant pathophysiology responsible for the acute pain crisis and emergency medical care among SCD patients. Acute Chest Syndrome (ACS) is a form of acute lung injury (ALI) and a leading cause of morbidity among SCD patients. SCD patients hospitalized with acute pain crises often develop ACS within the next few days suggesting a role for vaso-occlusion in lung injury. However, the exact etiological mechanism that triggers ACS is still elusive and the available treatment is primarily supportive.

The Sundd lab aspires to elucidate the molecular and biophysical mechanism of leukocyte-platelet-endothelium interaction during inflammation and how these events contribute to Vaso-Occlusive Crisis (VOC) and ACS in SCD. To achieve this we are using a multi-scale integrative physiologic approach, which involves in vivo Multi-Photon Excitation (MPE) fluorescence microscopy in transgenic and knock-in mice, microfluidic assays with patient blood, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, structured illumination microscopy (SIM), laser confocal microscopy, electron microscopy and various biochemical approaches. This multi-scale approach enables us to address the link between the pathophysiology of ACS affecting the lung (macro-level response) to the aberrant cellular events (micro-level response) driving the vaso-occlusion and the molecular interactions (nano-level response) enabling those cellular events. Identifying the molecular mechanism of vaso-occlusion in the lung will inspire therapeutics to prevent ACS in SCD patients.

The Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI) at the University of Pittsburgh-School of Medicine provides excellent opportunities for career development to post-doctoral scholars and graduate students. VMI has a strong training program for outstanding postdoctoral candidates aspiring to make a career in vascular/inflammation biology. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Sundd by email.

For more information about Dr. Sundd's research interests, as well as video clips, please click here.


PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
  prithu sundd phd

PRITHU SUNDD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of PACCM

prs51@pitt.edu | sunddp@upmc.edu | 412-648-9103

 

POSTDOCS / FELLOWS
  Maggie Bennewitz

MARGARET (MAGGIE) BENNEWITZ, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar (T32)

Maggie received her BS degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 and her PhD from Yale University in Biomedical Engineering in 2012. At Yale, she specialized in MRI cell tracking and contrast agent development for the diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme. After completing her doctorate, she accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in the M+Visión Program, a collaborative venture between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and hospitals and laboratories in Madrid, Spain. To diversify her imaging skills, she subsequently accepted a second postdoctoral fellowship in the VMI at the University of Pittsburgh-School of Medicine where she is currently a T32 postdoctoral scholar. She is using in vivo Multi-Photon Excitation fluorescence microscopy of the intact lung in live transgenic SCD mice to identify the cellular and molecular events that promote pulmonary vaso-occlusion and lung injury in transgenic SCD mice. ACS is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among SCD patients. Although pulmonary vaso-occlusion is believed to precede ACS, the molecular and cellular events that promote ACS are unknown.

mfb26@pitt.edu | 412-648-9987

     
 

TOMASZ BRZÓSKA, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate

Tomasz obtained his MS in Pharmacy from the Medical University of Bialystok (Bialystok, Poland) in 2009 and his Ph.D. from the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine (Hamamatsu, Japan) in 2013. Subsequently, he worked for two years as an assistant professor at the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine (Hamamatsu, Japan). His research over the last few years has been focused on using intravital confocal microscopy to elucidate the molecular and biophysical mechanisms of interactions between platelets, endothelium, leukocytes, coagulation and fibrinolytic factors in physiological and pathophysiological states. Tomasz joined the Vascular Medicine Institute in January 2016 and he is using in vivo Multi-Photon Excitation enabled intravital fluorescence microscopy to identify the cellular and molecular cues that promote thrombosis and subsequent lung injury in transgenic SCD mice

brzoskat@pitt.edu | 412-648-9987

 

GRADUATE STUDENTS
  maritza jimenez

MARITZA JIMENEZ

Graduate Student, Bioengineering

Maritza graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Robert Morris University in Moon, PA in May 2013. She is currently a Bioengineering PhD candidate and a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GFRP) Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. She is using in vitro/ex vivo microfluidic assays, TIRF, SIM and electron microscopy to identify the cellular, molecular and biophysical interactions that promote vaso-occlusion in blood samples of SCD (SS) patients. Although vaso-occlusion is the primary reason for emergency medical care among SCD patients; the molecular mechanism of vaso-occlusion is not completely understood.

Grant Support
Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training Program (T32) – Feb 2014-May 2015
*NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GFRP) Fellow – June 2015-current

Publcations
Jimenez MA, Tutuncuoglu E, Barge S, Novelli EM, and Sundd P. Quantitative microfluidic fluorescence microscopy to study vaso-occlusion in Sickle Cell Disease. Haematologica. 2015; 100:xxx doi:10.3324/haematol.2015.126631

maj105@pitt.edu | 412-648-9987

 

RESEARCH STAFF
  Egemen Tutuncuoglu

EGEMEN TUTUNCUOGLU, MSc

Research Technician III

Egemen holds a BSc in Biology and received his Master’s degree in Cancer Biology from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany. He is a Research Technician specializing in breeding and genotyping mice, biochemical assays, endotoxin challenge in mice, cell culture and histology.

egt8@pitt.edu | 412-648-9987

     
  Ravi Vats

RAVI VATS, MS

Imaging Specialist

Ravi completed his Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology from Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), India, and his MS in Imaging & Microscopy from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. Currently, he is working as an Imaging Specialist in the Sundd Lab. He is using multi-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy to image pulmonary vaso-occlusion and lung injury in live transgenic SCD mice. He is also involved in processing and analyzing large image data sets using NIS-Elements, IMARIS and MATLAB.

rav42@pitt.edu | 412-648-9987


Updated 12-6-2016

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz and Maritza Jimenez for having their co-first author manuscript accepted for publication in Journal of Clinical Investigation-Insight.

Updated 10-13-2016

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD for receiving the Best Poster Award at the Pittsburgh-Munich International Lung Conference-2016.

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD on receiving an Abstract Achievement Award from the American Society of Hematology-2016.

Updated 9-29-2016

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD on having her abstract accepted for an oral presentation at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting-2016.

Updated 9-12-2016

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD for receiving a First Place Poster Award at the World Molecular Imaging Congress-2016.

Updated 5-31-2016

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD for receiving a Student Travel Stipend from the World Molecular Imaging Society.

Updated 3-1-2016

  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez on receiving the NRSA-F31-diversty fellowship award from the NIH.

Updated 2-26-2016

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD on receiving the NIH NRSA-F32 postdoctoral fellowship award.

Updated 1-5-2016

  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez on having her abstract accepted for an oral presentation at the AHA fellows session-2015.

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD on receiving the Best Poster Award at the American Society for Hematology-2015.

  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez on having her abstract accepted for an oral presentation at the American Society for Hematology-2015.

Updated 9-17-2015

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD for receiving a fundable score on her NIH NRSA-F32 postdoctoral fellowship.

  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez for receiving a fundable score on her NIH NRSA-F31 predoctoral fellowship.

Updated 7-20-2015

  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD on having her abstract accepted for an oral presentation at the Annual BMES meeting-2015.
  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez on having her abstract accepted for an oral presentation at the Annual BMES meeting-2015.
  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD  on receiving the 2015 Innovation and Career Development Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society.
  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez on successfully defending her PhD proposal.
  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez on having her manuscript accepted for publication in Haematologica.
  • Congratulations to Margaret Bennewitz, PhD on winning the (second place) basic sciences presentation award at the AHA Fellows Research Day-2015.
  • Congratulations to Maritza Jimenez on receiving the prestigious NSF-Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) grant.