Dr. Katharina Schimmel joined the lab of Prof. Ronglih Liao at Stanford Cardiovascular Institute as a postdoctoral researcher in May 2018. Ever since she has developed a passion for cardiac imaging and has been focusing on advanced echocardiography, such as strain and 4D imaging, in newborn and adult mice following myocardial infarction. Her recent work demonstrated detrimental effects of in utero exposure to cigarette smoke on cardiac regeneration in the offspring and was highlighted in the American Heart Association Newsletter in August 2019.
During her Ph.D. studies from 2013 – 2017 in Medical School Hannover, Germany, she received throughout training by Prof. Thomas Thum. Diastolic heart failure represents an unmet medical need to date. Her work with him, therefore, aimed at the development of natural compounds and microRNA-based preventive and therapeutic approaches for cardiac fibrosis, leading to ameliorated diastolic performance of the heart. She discovered two nature-derived substances as lead candidates for therapeutic applications in diastolic dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis in pre-clinical studies, which was published in the journal Circulation.
In 2012, Dr. Schimmel received her MSc degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with high honors at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria. There is currently no treatment for Troyer syndrome, a rare disease of spastic paraplegia. Therefore, together with the lab of Prof. Frank Madeo, a distinguished expert on aging and cell death, she aimed at filling the lack of knowledge on the pathogenesis of this disease. She found that replenishing the cellular protection by the protein spartin, which is lost in patients with Troyer Syndrome, might represent an attractive avenue for future therapeutic development.