Dr. Pooneh Bagher is the Assistant Professor at theTexas A&M Health Science Center, working on several projects for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Dr. Bagher's lab has studied a range of unique vessels that many researchers have not examined before. Her lab is interested in how blood vessels usually function and how they function differently in either disease states or extreme physiological conditions, including spaceflight.
In the past three years, Dr. Bagher and her team have had two distinct areas of focus related to the effects of spaceflight on vasculature. Her group has examined the coronary artery and the angular vein. The latter may play a role in a phenomenon called spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome, otherwise known as SANS.
SANS is a condition that occurs in astronauts when they are in orbit for long-duration missions. Over this period, astronauts start to have changes in their visual acuity. There have been some studies in astronauts on this phenomenon. However, Dr. Bagher and her colleagues first looked at the vascular function in an animal model following space flight. "We were the first researcher sever to study isolated coronary vessels and angular veins following spaceflight," said Dr. Bagher, lead investigator on this part of the project.
For Dr. Bagher's most recent work, the animal models spent 38.5 days at the International Space Station before they were brought back to Earth to be studied as part of NASA's Vision Impairment and IntracranialPressure program. Each team member was devoted to looking at a different aspect of the study that was broken down into groups; arteries, lymphatics, and veins. The team collectively looked at the vessels that feed and drain the eyes to see what happened during the space flight.
Dr. Bagher's lab has been predominantly using DMT wire myographs in her NASA research. They allow numerous systems to be run in parallel – keeping up with the high demand of samples quickly, which is vital to avoid re-acclimatization of the animal models to Earth's gravity. "We have been using DMT wire myographs since 2015," said Dr. Bagher.
When the first project was launched for NASA, Dr.Bagher's Lab held an extreme throughput as they have 28 myograph chambers at their disposal– ranging from single, dual to 4-channel myograph systems. This is essential for collecting many data quickly, which is a must when doing extensive experiments for NASA.
The types of experiments Dr. Bagher and her team perform can be very strenuous. The animal models she works with have been taken to space, and the experiments need to be conducted very quickly upon their return. Her entire setup must be fully functional. "We must have equipment that we can coun ton... the DMT wire myograph system provides that consistency," said Dr. Bagher.
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Comparison of Adrenergic and Purinergic Receptor Contributions to Vasomotor Responses in Mesenteric Arteries of C57BL/6J Mice and Wistar Rats
A Mittal, PD Park, R Mitchell, H Fang, P Bagher / Journal of Vascular Research 58 (1), 1-15
Microvascular dysfunction and kidney disease: Challenges and opportunities?
S Krishnan, AD Suarez‐Martinez, P Bagher, A Gonzalez, R Liu, ... / Microcirculation, e12661
Endothelial calreticulin deletion impairs endothelial function in aged mice
LA Biwer, HR Askew-Page, K Hong, J Milstein, SR Johnstone, E Macal, ... / American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology 318
By David Plante | DMT-USA, Inc. | July 2021