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Cynthia St. Hilaire, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Cardiology
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Primary Research:

Research in the St. Hilaire lab focuses on characterizing the underlying pathobiology of vascular disease, concentrating on mechanisms that drive vascular and valvular calcification and vessel wall remodeling. Ectopic calcification in the cardiovascular system was once considered a passive and degenerative progression, but it is now appreciated that active biological processes drive this pathology, though the precise mechanisms inducing and propagating pathological calcification are not completely understood. During her postdoctoral fellowship at the NHLBI, Dr. St. Hilaire and colleagues at the NHLBI and NHGRI discovered the rare genetic disease ACDC, in which inactivating mutations in NT5E/CD73 lead to medial-layer calcification and vessel tortuosity. The St. Hilaire lab uses this disease as a model to define the role of CD73 and adenosine signaling in vascular calcification and vessel wall/extracellular matrix integrity. Since coming to the University of Pittsburgh the lab has also expanded to study processes involved in valvular calcification. The overarching goal is to dissect the mechanisms that drive the transformation of a healthy vascular cell into a calcifying cell.

Lab Web Site: sthilairelab.pitt.edu

Members of the laboratory: 

Left to right, going counterclockwise
• Ryan Wong – undergraduate researcher
• Camille Boufford – Research Technician
• Rachel Wolfe – Medical Student, Physician Scientist Training Program
• Pouya Joolharzadeh – Medical Student
• Cindy St. Hilaire – PI
• Claire Chu – Research Technician
• Billy Moorhead – Research Technician
• Cailyn Regan – undergraduate researcher
• Jack Callahan – undergraduate researcher

 

StHilaireLab 2018 0620

 

Recent Publications:

Full list of citations can be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/cynthia.st.hilaire.1/bibliography/40237765/public/?sort=date&direction=descending

1. Hortells L, Sur S, and St Hilaire C. Cell Phenotype Transitions in Cardiovascular Calcification. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018; 5, 27. PMID 29632866

2. Xue YF, St Hilaire C, Hortells L, Phillippi JA, Sant V, Sant S. Shape-Specific Nanoceria Mitigate Oxidative Stress-Induced Calcification in Primary Human Valvular Interstitial Cell Culture. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. 2017;10(5):483-500. doi: 10.1007/s12195-017-0495-6.

3. Jin H*, St. Hilaire C*, Huang Y*, Yang D, Dmitrieva NI, Negro A, Schwartzbeck R, Liu Y, Yu Z, Walts A, et al. Increased activity of TNAP compensates for reduced adenosine production and promotes ectopic calcification in the genetic disease ACDC. Science Signaling. 2016;9(458):ra121-ra. PMID 27965423. * denotes equal contribution

4. St. Hilaire C, Liberman M, Miller JD. Bidirectional Translation in Cardiovascular Calcification. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016;36(3):e19-24. PMID: 26912744

5. Cooley BC, Nevado J, Mellad J, Yang D, St. Hilaire C, Negro A, Fang F, Chen G, San H, Walts AD, Schwartzbeck RL, Taylor B, Lanzer JD, Wragg A, Elagha A, Beltran LE, Berry C, Feil R, Virmani R, Ladich E, Kovacic JC, Boehm M. TGF-β Signaling Mediates Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EndMT) During Vein Graft Remodeling. Sci Transl Med. 2014 Mar 12;6(227):227ra34. PMID 24622514.

6. St. Hilaire C, Ziegler SG, Markello T, Bruscs A, Groden C, Gill F, Carlson-Donohoe H, Lederman RJ, Chen MY, Yang D, Siegenthaler MP, Arduino C, Mancini C, Freudenthal B, Stanescu HC, Zdebik AA, Krishna Chaganti R, Nussbaum R, Kleta R, Gahl WA, Boehm M. NT5E Mutations and Arterial Calcifications.  N Engl J Med. 2011 Feb 3;364(5):432-42. PMID 21288095.