Gabriela Kuster Pfister is group leader at the Department of Biomedicine and a cardiologist at the Clinic of Cardiology of the University Hospital Basel. The research of her group Myocardial Research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of myocardial remodeling and repair with the ultimate goal to identify novel targets and to develop novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of heart failure. Together with Otmar Pfister, a clinical cardiologist and director of the division Heart Failure and Transplantation, they are studying the regulation and role of heart-resident cardiac progenitor cells (CPC) in this remodeling process. CPC have the capacity to differentiate into all cardiac cell lineages including cardiomyocytes and they play an important role in the maintenance of the myocardial cell homeostasis over a lifespan. Functional impairment of CPC has therefore detrimental effects on the integrity of the myocardium and may lead to heart failure. The function of CPC is largely determined by the surrounding environment. In this so-called “niche”, a variety of cytokines and growth factors regulate survival as well as proliferation and differentiation capacities of CPC. Analogous to bone marrow-derived progenitor cells, CPC exhibit receptor systems that are responsive to hematopoietic growth factors and similar systems may be expressed on cardiomyocytes. In ongoing projects, the group is currently studying how reactive oxygen species and hematopoietic growth factors including Flt3 ligand and erythropoietin regulate the function and fate of CPC and cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, in collaboration with Prof. Liao from Harvard Medical School in Boston, the potential role of the ATP-binding cassette transporter MDR1 in the regulation of CPC and myocardial remodeling is examined.
For detail and recent publications: https://biomedizin.unibas.ch/en/persons/gabriela-kuster-pfister/