Critical Care Medicine Department

Intramural NIH Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) Program Staff

PAH Home

Investigators

Clinical Fellow

Dr. Adrien Mazer

Adrien Mazer, MD

Dr. Adrien Mazer earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (2005) and his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine (2009). After completing an internal medicine residency at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital (2012), he began a critical care medicine fellowship at the NIH Clinical Center (2013-present) and a pulmonary disease fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital (2014-2016). He is currently involved in establishing a pre-clinical rat model of pulmonary arterial hypertension to further understand the effects of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists in this disease. He is also involved in the clinical management of pulmonary arterial hypertension patients at the NIH and is dedicated to helping patients with this disease.

Clinical Research Nurses

Grace Graninger, RN

Grace Graninger, RN

Grace Graninger received her nursing degree from Townson State University (Baltimore, MD). She has been a Clinical Nurse since 1987, Critical Care Staff Nurse since 1991, and a Clinical Research Nurse at NIH since 2000. She has worked with Dr. Michael Solomon since 2003 and with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension patients since 2013. Grace has extensive experience as a clinical and research nurse and along with co-worker Bonnie Harper, Grace is involved in all of the clinical preparations needed to successfully maintain and expand the PAH clinical protocols. They take great pride in being responsive to the needs of patients and referring physicians.

Bonnie Harper, RN

Bonnie Harper, RN

Bonnie Harper received her nursing degree from Providence Hospital School of Nursing (Southfield, MI). She has been a Clinical Nurse since 1975, and a Critical Care Staff Nurse since 1980. She has worked as a Clinical Research Nurse with Dr. Michael Solomon since 2003 and with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension patents since 2013. Bonnie is a knowledgeable and resourceful clinical and research nurse and along with co-worker Grace Graninger, Bonnie is involved in all of the clinical preparations needed to successfully maintain and expand the PAH clinical protocols. They take great pride in being responsive to the needs of patients and referring physicians.

Laboratory Personnel

Keytam Awad, PhD

Keytam Awad, PhD

Dr. Keytam Awad joined the NIH Critical Care Medicine Department as a Postdoctoral Fellow in August 2011 and became a full-time staff member in February 2015. Dr. Awad was trained as a cellular and molecular biologist and received her PhD from Kent State University. There she studied the mechanisms by which natural ligands suppress viral oncogene function as a novel approach to inhibit human papillomavirus induced precancerous and cancerous lesions. Dr Awad's current work is focused on dysregulated signaling pathways in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), and the development of targeted therapies aimed at blocking the proliferative, hyper-migratory, anti-apoptotic pulmonary vascular phenotype associated with PAH. She recently silenced BMPR2 in pulmonary artery endothelial cells to create an in vitro model of hereditary PAH. Using this model system, Dr. Awad identified non-canonical Ras/Raf/ERK activation as the major driver of an abnormal cellular phenotype characterized by proliferation, invasiveness and a disrupted cytoskeletal architecture. Treatment with Raf inhibitors and nintedanib an inhibitor of receptor tyrosine kinases upstream from Ras, corrected many of the phenotypic alterations associated with BMPR2 silencing. As such, Ras/Raf/ERK signaling, an important oncogenic pathway, may contribute to pathologic vascular remodeling and be a useful therapeutic target in PAH.

Li-Yuan (Lillian) Chen, PhD

Li-Yuan (Lillian) Chen, PhD

Dr. Li-Yuan (Lillian) Chen first came to the NIH as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1999 and returned to the NIH as a full-time staff member in the Critical Care Medicine Department (CCMD) in 2004. Dr. Chen received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the National Taiwan University in 1998. During her post-doctoral training at the NIH she investigated the immunophenotype that results from GSD-1b loss of function in a murine knock-out model (GSD-1b-/-) of type 1B glycogen storage disease. Dr. Chen then worked as a research associate at the Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center. There she investigated the role of matriptase 1 and its inhibitor, hepatocyte growth factor regulator inhibitor, in cancer metastasis. As a member of the CCMD, Dr. Chen's previous work focused on lipid mediator signaling in human monocytes and macrophages as well as lipid mediator modulation of cellular inflammatory responses such as inflammasome activation and induction of autophagy. Her focus turned to pulmonary vascular disease in 2014. Dr. Chen brings a tremendous amount of laboratory experience to the CCMD Vascular Biology group. Currently, she is investigating the effects of spironolactone on inflammatory gene transcription in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells.

Salina Gairhe, PhD

Salina Gairhe, PhD

Dr. Salina Gairhe joined the NIH Critical Care Medicine Department as a Postdoctoral Fellow in June 2014 and became a full-time staff member in 2016. Dr. Gairhe has been interested in further understanding pathogenic mechanisms of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) since 2006 with an emphasis on the development of novel therapeutic approaches to reverse the disease. Dr. Gairhe received her Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences from the University of South Alabama in 2011. Her doctoral research was focused on intercellular communication between lung vascular cell types. She demonstrated that myoendothelial gap junction communication was necessary for the maintenance of the contractile pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell phenotype. Dr. Gairhe continued to work in the field of pulmonary vascular disease as a post-doctoral fellow and an Instructor at the University of South Alabama, where she identified sphingosine-1-phosphate, a bioactive lipid mediator as one of the critical signaling molecules in the pathogenesis of PAH. Dr. Gairhe has received pre- and post-doctoral research grants from the American Heart Association and the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, and her work has been published as original research and cover art in the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Gairhe is also an editorial board member of Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute Journal. At NIH, she is investigating the effects of caveolin-1 gene silencing in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells.

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This page last updated on 07/27/2017

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