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Karen A. Westerman, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School

Contact Info

Karen Westerman
Brigham And Women's Hospital
75 Francis St
Boston, MA, 02115
Mailstop: Anesthesia (SR157)
Phone: 617-525-7143
Fax: 617-732-6927


Rachal Abrams
Administrative Assistant
Brigham and Women''s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
75 Francis St
Boston, MA, 02115
Phone: 617-732-6879
Fax: 617-732-6927

DF/HCC Program Affiliation

Angiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis

Research Abstract

A major hurdle for treating muscle disease with cell-based therapies is the lack of homing of therapeutic donor cells to injured muscle. The main focus of my research is to improve upon current cell-based therapies by expressing an adhesion molecule, L-selectin, on the surface of transplanted cells to enhance the homing and migration of these cells to sites of muscle injury. The basic hypothesis is that by expressing an adhesion molecule normally expressed on the surface of leukocytes on the surface of transplanted cells that the migration and homing of the transplanted cells will be enhanced by mimicking the pathways used by leukocytes to home to sites of injury and inflammation. Specific aims of this research include using a lentiviral vector expressing L-selectin to transduce various stem cells, monitoring the expression of cell surface markers (CD 34, Sca 1, CXCR4, B2 integrin), looking at the in vitro adhesion and transmigration properties of the L-selectin engineered cells, and in vivo studies involving the intra-arterial transplantation of L-selectin engineered cells into alpha-sarcoglycan null mice.


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