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Center for Women’s Health Research

Center for Womens Health Research

Vivek Balasubramaniam, MD

​What is your research?

Overall, I study the processes that govern how lungs grow and develop.  My research interest is in the mechanisms underlying vascular and alveolar development, especially in the restricted growth and development of blood vessels in the lungs. When growth of blood vessels is impaired, the lungs do not function properly. In my research, I look at endothelial stem cells and isolate vascular progenitor stem cells.  I also look at the difference between premature cells and more mature cells in newborns and how much more sensitive the premature cells are to stress.

With the CWHR collaborative seed grant that I am working on with Dr. Kerrie Moreau, the aims of our project are to determine the effects of 4 months of ovarian hormone suppression on endothelial function and circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and whether exercise training can mitigate the effects of sex hormone suppression on endothelial function and EPCs. 

Why is your research important?

This CWHR collaborative project is important because it will seek to determine how the loss of estrogen causes a decline in vascular health as women go through menopause and whether exercise can modify these factors to prevent a decline in vascular health.  A better understanding of the factors involved in women’s vascular health will give insight into other causes of vascular dysfunction such as preeclampsia, which is the cause of significant maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity. My research is also trying to gain an understanding of how cells repair themselves during the aging process and how stem cells could lead to new therapies. I am looking at the processes that guide regeneration from stem cells.     

How did you become interested in research?

I really enjoyed science in high school and then majored in biochemistry while doing my undergraduate work at UCLA. I worked in a lab my sophomore and junior year and liked the research. After receiving an MS in Biochemistry at UCLA, I received my medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. I completed my Fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Pediatric Critical Care at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Currently, I am the Director of the Pediatric Heart Lung Center Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Colorado.