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New Publication in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
Sept 7, 2023

Congratulations to Research Assistant Professor Nick Chavkin on his recent publication, “Obesity Accelerates Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Adipose Tissues of Mice and Humans”.

Hirschi Lab hosts SRIP student
Aug 3, 2023

Congrats to Mikayla Borrowdale, a participant in UVA’s Summer Research Internship Program, on completing 10 weeks of research in the Hirschi Lab.  Mikayla traveled to UVA from her home institution for an undergrad research internship that culminated in her presentation on CRISPR/Cas9 Knockout of UNC5B in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells to fellow interns.  Mikayla also participated in UVA’s Leadership Alliance Program.  To learn more about these programs, as well as to apply, please visit SRIP and Leadership Alliance.

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Mikayla's SRIP and Leadership Alliance presentation Aug 2023
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Good Luck Dany Party July 2023
Nick Chavkin approved for K22 NIA Career Transition Award
July 7, 2023

Congratulations to Research Assistant Professor Nick Chavkin on receiving approval for the National Institute on Aging’s K22 Career Transition Award for Early Stage Investigators.  This project will investigate the role of hematopoietic loss of Y chromosome on aging phenotypes.

Yinyu's last day in lab June 2023
Welcome to new lab tech Tyler Vargas
Jun 12, 2023

Tyler recently joined the Hirschi Lab, having completed his undergraduate degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and his Masters degree at the University of Florida.  He is interested in finding new pharmacological treatments for developmental diseases.  Tyler will be taking over for our lab tech Dany, who is headed off to grad school at Oklahoma State University.  Welcome Tyler and good luck Dany!

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Good Luck Yinyu Party June 2023
Ola Cwiek receives award for best trainee presentation at Pediatrics Research Symposium
May 25, 2023

Congrats to grad student Ola Cwiek on receiving the Hiroko Nishimura Award for her presentation on the role of retinoic acid in placental endothelial cell specification during vascularization.  Ola presented at UVA’s 35th Annual Child Health Research Center Pediatrics Research Symposium, along with 12 other Fellows, Residents, Postdocs, and Students.

New Publication in Developmental Cell 
May 17, 2023

Congrats to postdoc Yinyu Wu on her recent publication, “MicroRNA-223 limits murine hemogenic endothelial cell specification and myelopoiesis”.  This was Yinyu’s grad student thesis project in the Hirschi Lab and, with its completion, Yinyu will be heading to Northern California to work in biotech.  Good luck Yinyu, we will miss you!

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Ola's CHRC Pediatric Research Symposium Award May 2023
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BOIP Science Saturday May 2023
Gael Genet receives grant from the Aneurysm and AVM Foundation
May 17, 2023

Congratulations to Research Assistant Professor Gael Genet on receiving TAAF’s 2023 Cerebrovascular Research Grant for his project on overcoming barriers in therapeutics, imaging and biomarkers for brain AVMs.

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Maddie's White Coat Ceremony April 2023
Dr. Hirschi Keynote Lecturer at AHA Vascular Discovery 2023
May 13, 2023

Dr. Hirschi gave the keynote lecture at the American Heart Association’s Vascular Discovery: From Genes to Medicine conference in Boston.  She presented the lab’s work on Regulation of Endothelial Cell Specification in Development and Disease.

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Ola's poster at GBS Symposium March 2023
Hirschi Lab members participate in Science Saturday outreach event
May 13, 2023

Nick and Zoe Chavkin joined the Cell Biology Department for a day of science activities and education about the cardiovascular system.  This volunteer effort is part of UVA’s Biology Outreach and Inclusion Program to engage and educate the community about research at UVA and to make science more approachable to local students.

New Publication in Cell Reports
Mar 22, 2023

Congratulations to postdoc Nafiisha Genet on her recent publication, “Connexin 43-mediated neurovascular interactions regulate neurogenesis in the adult brain subventricular zone”.

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Shelby's poster at GBS Symposium March 2023
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Celebrating Nafiisha's and Nick's AHA CDAs March 2023
3rd Year Grad Students Shelby Cain and Ola Cwiek present their work at GBS Symposium
Mar 17, 2023

Thank you to UVA's Graduate Bioscience Society for hosting the 31st Annual GBS Symposium, giving our grad students the opportunity to showcase their work.  Shelby presented her project on endothelial cell cycle control to normalize tumor vasculature and Ola present her project on the role of retinoic acid in placental endothelial cell specification during vascularization.  Great job to Shelby, Ola, and everyone else involved!

Nafiisha Genet awarded 2023 AHA Career Development Award
Mar 7, 2023

Congrats to postdoc Nafiisha Genet on receiving the AHA’s Career Development Award for her project on the role of connexins in retinal vascular development and retinopathies.

Nick Chavkin awarded 2023 AHA Career Development Award
Mar 7, 2023

Congrats to postdoc Nick Chavkin on receiving the AHA’s Career Development Award for his project on age-related loss of the Y chromosome in heart failure.

Voted Best Gift Dec 2022
Holiday White Elephant Gift Exchange Dec 2022
Ola & Shelby's White Coat Ceremony (observed) Dec 2022
Welcome to new graduate student Maddie Jackson
Feb 13, 2023

Welcome Maddie!  Grad Student Maddie Jackson recently joined the Hirschi Lab, having completed her Undergraduate and Masters degrees at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  She will be studying the role of cell cycle control in lymphatic valve specification and development.

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Spectrum of Fluorophores at the Halloween Party Oct 2022
Dr. Hirschi receives UVA's Cancer Biology Research Program Pilot Project Award 
Jan 16, 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Hirschi, grad student Shelby Cain, and co-mentor Dr. Drew Dudley on their Cancer Biology (CBIO) Research Program Pilot Project Award from UVA’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Shelby will be investigating endothelial cell cycle control to normalize tumor vasculature.

Ola Cwiek awarded 2023 AHA Predoctoral Fellowship
Dec 14, 2022

Congratulations to graduate student Ola Cwiek on being awarded an AHA Predoctoral Fellowship for her project on retinoic acid regulation of placental vascularization.

Hirschi Lab Pumpkins - Pumping Heart and the Cell Oct 2022
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Hirschi Lab Party Sept 2022
New Publication in Nature Communications
October 6, 2022

Congrats to postdoc Nick Chavkin on his recent publication, "Endothelial cell cycle state determines propensity for arterial-venous fate".

11th season of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminar Series launches Sept. 16

With topics ranging from addiction recovery to stem cell therapies, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC launches the 11th season of its Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminar Series on Sept. 16.

The full slate features 29 experts sharing leading discoveries in cardiovascular science, cancer research, neuroscience, biomedical imaging, addiction, and health behaviors. 

The seminars are selected to be of particular interest to members of the Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic communities, including graduate and medical students, undergraduates, faculty, and staff. The lecture series is divided into fall and spring seasons, with the first 10 scheduled from September through December, and will be held in-person at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. In addition, the lectures can be attended virtually through the research institute’s website...more

Gael Genet receives 2022 AHA Career Development Award
July 14, 2022

Congratulations to Research Assistant Professor Gael Genet on being awarded an AHA Career Development Award for his project on endothelial cell cycle state control in arteriovenous malformations.

Chairing the 2022 Gordon Research Conference & Seminar on Endothelial Cell Phenotypes in Health and Disease
June 25-July 1, 2022
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Congrats to the Hirschi Lab for successfully chairing the 2022 Gordon Research Conference and Seminar on Endothelial Cell Phenotypes in Health and Disease in Casteldefells, Spain!  Dr. Hirschi chaired the Conference and postdoc Nick Chavkin chaired the Seminar.

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Shelby & Jordon presenting at Cell Bio Symposium Sept 2022
Nafiisha's Emerging Star award at IJGC July 2022
Ola, Jordon, Yinyu et al. at Vasculata July 2022
Gordon Research Conference June 2022
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Ola at International Research Training Group 1902 June 2022
Corina Marziano awarded 2022 NHLBI F32 Fellowship
July 1, 2022

Congratulations to postdoc Corina Marziano on being awarded an NIH NHLBI F32 Fellowship on regulation of lymphatic endothelial cell specification. 

Dr. Hirschi as a Keynote Speaker at 2022 EMBO Workshop
May 9-11, 2022
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Congratulations to Dr. Hirschi for her delivery of a keynote seminar on Regulation of Endothelial Cell Specification for the 2022 EMBO Workshop - Building Networks: Engineering in Vascular Biology at EMBL Barcelona!

Yinyu Wu successfully defends thesis for PhD
April 6, 2022

Congratulations to grad student (now postdoc!) Yinyu Wu for her successful thesis defense on regulation of hemogenic endothelial cell specification by microRNA-223.  Yinyu traveled back to Yale to attend her graduation.

Hirschi, Alumni Professor of Cell Biology, is an internationally respected vascular biologist using a variety of cellular, molecular and genomic approaches to study the development and regeneration of blood vessels and blood cells in animal and human stem cell models. 

The goal is to identify candidate gene mutations that cause vascular and blood cell developmental disorders, Hirschi wrote in email. Her lab is analyzing genetic data from affected patients and their parents, and will screen candidate genetic mutations in human stem cell and animal models to determine which cause defects in the development of organs and systems in utero.

Part of her research, focused on personalized medicine, involves partnerships with clinical scientists and bioinformaticians at UVA, nonprofit health care provider Inova and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development...more

As scientists study blood disorders and conditions, such as sickle cell disease and leukemia, they examine underlying processes involved in how blood and blood vessels form. In a research article in Science, scientists identified a pathway involved in the early production of blood cells. Formative processes for blood cell production that starts with cells that line the walls of blood vessels were known, but underlying mechanisms needed clarification. The researchers note this information provides the foundation to further study the formation of human blood stem cells in the lab.

“We hope our continued efforts will move us closer to treating both vascular and blood disorders,” study author Karen K. Hirschi, Ph.D., said in a release shared by the University of Virginia Health System. Hirschi published a second paper about this research in Cell Reports. The research was supported by the NHLBI.

Holiday White Elephant Gift Exchange Dec 2021
Baby Shower for Liz Dec 2021
NASA Space Mice at the Halloween Party Oct 2021
Hirschi Lab Pumpkin - Mouse Embryo & Vascular Plexus Oct 2021
Candy Taste Test at the Halloween Party Oct 2021
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Hirschi Lab Olympics Aug 2021
Yinyu's move to Charlottesville May 2021
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Socially Distanced Christmas Dec 2020

Pioneering research into how our bodies manufacture the cells that make blood has moved us closer to regrowing tissues and organs. The findings also may let doctors grow cells for transplantation into people to battle cancer, blood disorders and autoimmune diseases.

Researcher Karen K. Hirschi of the University of Virginia’s Department of Cell Biology and Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center at the School of Medicine has developed a simple and efficient way to generate hemogenic endothelial cells. These cells are the first step in the production line of blood cells, and Hirschi’s new findings provide a blueprint for creating them outside the body...more

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A discovery by University of Virginia Health System researchers could move doctors closer to regrowing tissue or other organs affected by the disease.  Researchers are making efforts to generate a specific type of cell faster and outside of the body.
These cells, called Hemogenic Endothelial cells, are the first step in the production line of blood cells. That opens doors for treating certain types of cells.  Endothelial cells are typically taken from an individual’s bone marrow, but now doctors want to be able to manufacture them quicker and easier for patients on demand.  “Our ultimate goal is trying to make human vascular blood cells so that they can be used to treat patients that need organ and tissue replacements, or for patients that are battling blood cancers,” said UVA’s Department of Cell Biology and Cardiovascular Research Center Dr. Karen Hirschi...more


A sugary coating tells cells it’s time to make blood
Nature Research Highlights - December 3, 2020

A ‘sugar code’ on the cells that pave the inside of blood vessels plays an important part in the formation of blood during an embryo’s development.

As an embryo develops, some of the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels are transformed into stem cells that will produce blood throughout an animal’s life. To understand this transformation, Karen Hirschi and Stefania Nicoli at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and their colleagues manipulated the genetics of zebrafish to identify a combination of sugars that sit on the surface of endothelial cells and help to control the cells’ fate...more

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Jordon's White Coat Ceremony Aug 2020
Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest Oct 2019
Dr. Hirschi's Housewarming Party Fall 2019
Hirschi Lab under construction Jan 2019
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