Medicine-Cardiovascular Sciences Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX US
MSc from Jagiellonian University
PhD from Jagiellonian University
Postdoctoral Training at Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas United States
Advances in modern medicine extend the human lifespan, but with an increasing number of aging people, medical care is facing new challenges. Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is nearly exclusively found in older patients. HFpEF is characterized by abnormal diastolic function, which is caused by an increase in the stiffness of the heart's left ventricle and a decrease in left ventricular relaxation.
Dr. Cieslik's research interests focus on the dysregulation of cardiac fibroblasts and immune cells in the aging heart that may lead to diastolic dysfunction.
The primary extracellular matrix (ECM)-producing cells in the heart are fibroblasts. ECM provides not only a scaffold for cells, but its structure can affect cell phenotype and function. In the aged heart, ECM composition and architecture is altered. To determine the effect of matrix on fibroblasts' function, the lab cultures them in 2D and 3D settings and examines how decellularized matrices from the aged hearts can affect young fibroblast phenotype and vice versa.
Dr. Cieslik's lab also examines the role of various macrophages, dendritic cells, and lymphocytes in the activation of cardiac fibroblasts leading to subsequent fibrosis. In addition, her lab applies various treatments that modulate either fibroblasts or immune cell phenotypes to characterize the molecular and cellular signalings involved in the inflammatory responses in young versus old animals.
Finally, the lab studies not only the differences in young versus old mice but also how sex affects the phenotype of the studied cells or the heart function, which is also observed in the human population.