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Coronary artery development and regeneration

Speaker: Professor Kristy Red-Horse

Kristy Red-Horse is an Associate Professor at Stanford University’s Department of Biology and Institute for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine. She attended high school in Benton, Arkansas where her love of biological systems was sparked by Mrs. Parnell’s biology class. She went on to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, majoring in microbiology.

Not quite knowing what to do with her professional life following graduation, but feeling both the urge to continue her education and to explore other parts of the country, Dr. Red-Horse took an opportunity to perform a Master’s degree at San Francisco State University. This opportunity was made possible by the NIH’s Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS)-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program (RISE), and was a dramatic turning point in her life (Thank you Dr. Frank Bayless!). Dr. Red-Horse fell in love with experiments and scientific research and has not looked back since.

Dr. Red-Horse is the granddaughter of a Cherokee elder and academic who dedicated his life to the welfare of American Indian families. His research frequently focused on the importance extended family could have on the welfare of young American Indians, which was intended to influence policies that would keep families together. Dr. Red-Horse’s lineage and her own personal experiences give her great motivation for providing opportunities to young scientists from many different backgrounds and life histories.

Dr. Red-Horse’s Master’s research explored immune cell trafficking at the human maternal-fetal interface in Dr. Susan Fisher’s lab at the University of California, San Francisco. So enthralled by the biology of pregnancy, she decided to stay in the Fisher lab for her PhD research, which explored how the vasculature of the placenta incorporates within the uterine arterial network. Her work provided information about how the placenta targets arteries rather than veins and discovered that the uterus usually lack a lymphatic vasculature until pregnency when uterine lymphatics expand dramatically.

She spent some postdocoral time at Genentech in the lab of Dr. Napoleone Ferrara, but the work of her lab was started during a postdoc at Stanford University with Dr. Mark Krasnow. There, Dr. Red-Horse identified the progenitors of coronary arteries in mouse hearts. In her own lab at Stanford, she and her team went on to explore many different aspects of how coronary arteries develop from these progenitors. The Red-Horse group also studies how coronaries regenerate and respond to injury, and devises methods for increasing their growth to enhance cardiac recovery.

For her pioneering work in cardiovascular and stem cell biology, Dr. Red-Horse has received awards such as the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) and the Searle Scholar’s Award. She was also a New York Stem Cell Foundation—Robertson Investigator and received the Judah Folkman Award in vascular biology.

When not working on the blood vessels, she is raising her two children, four chickens, and Labradoodle (noodles the poodles).

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