Associate Program Director of Academic Basic Research Scientist Pathway
Laura Hansen received her BS in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she studied the mechanics of blood vessel walls and changes associated with different disease states. She then completed her post-doctoral fellowship studying the RAGE receptor in peripheral artery disease at Emory University in Cardiology. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and Division of Cardiology and program faculty in Biomedical Engineering and Molecular and Systems Pharmacology. Hansen’s lab studies the interactions between satellite cells and the vasculature. Satellite cells are skeletal muscle progenitor cells that are known to play an important role in muscle repair after injury and adaptation to exercise. However, the Hansen lab focuses on a previously underexplored role of satellite cells in vascular growth. They have found that satellite cells, when activated, produced a number of chemoattractant growth factors that drive the migration of vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells which in an important factor in the growth and development of blood vessels. This area is of particular interest in the context of peripheral artery disease, where patients suffer from ischemic tissue damage but treatment options are still limited. The lab has shown that ischemia stimulates satellite cells and are exploring ways to harness their angiogenic properties in vivo or through therapeutically delivered cells.
Woodruff Memorial Research Building 319B