Thoracic Aortic Disease Research Laboratory

The Thoracic Aortic Disease Research Laboratory is directed by Thomas G. Gleason MD, co-directed by Julie Phillippi PhD, and is staffed with two research associates, two post-doctoral research fellows and three undergraduate student researchers.  Efforts within the Thoracic Aortic Disease Research lab are focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are responsible for ascending aortic aneurysm in patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV). Using three-dimensional tissue culture models, a current focus is the impact of oxidative stress response pathways in various blood vessel cell lineages on ascending aorta extracellular matrix (ECM) architecture, and biomechanical strength. Other areas of interest include involvement of the microvasculature network and putative contributions from local progenitor cells. The long-term goal is to understand the mechanism of aneurysm formation in BAV patients and to develop novel diagnostic and prognostic tools and therapeutic options for these patients. The laboratory actively maintains a human aortic tissue and primary cell bank to facilitate research. Members of the research team are also active in regional science education outreach via science camps, guest lectures and shadowing experiences for middle through high school students.

Research is supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, UPMC Health System’s Competitive Medical Research Fund, the American Heart Association and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

For more information, contact:

Thomas Gleason, MD

Julie Phillippi, PhD



Research Type