Laura E Niklason PhD, MD

Professor of Anesthesiology and of Biomedical Engineering and Residential College Associate Fellow in Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Division Chief; Vice Chair, Research

Research Interests

Anesthesiology; Biomedical Engineering; Biophysics; Physics

Current Projects

  • Tissue engineered arteries, utilizing decellularization approaches
  • Regeneration of whole, functional lung tissue
  • Engineering of thoracic conduits, including trachea and esophagus
  • Investigation of the molecular basis of cellular aging in various tissues
  • Investigation of causes of intimal hyperplasia in vein grafts

Research Summary

Dr. Niklason is Professor of Anesthesia and Biomedical Engineering at Yale. She received her Bachelors degrees in Physics and Biophysics from the University of Illinois, and went on to the University of Chicago for her PhD in Biophysics in 1988. Dr. Niklason subsequently received her MD from the University of Michigan, where she did her internship. She then went on to the Massachusetts General Hospital for residency in Anesthesia, followed by fellowship training in Critical Care Medicine. During her time in Boston, Dr. Niklason was also a post-doctoral researcher at MIT with Dr. Robert Langer, where she developed techniques for the tissue engineering of autologous arteries. Dr. Niklason joined the faculty at Duke University in 1998, where she continued her work in cardiovascular tissue engineering, and founded a biotechnology company designed to bring tissue engineered cardiovascular products to the clinic. Dr. Niklason has received national and international recognition for her work in this field, receiving the Discover Magazine award for Technological Innovation in 2000. In January of 2006, Niklason moved to Yale University, where she is expanding her research program in tissue engineering of blood vessels and lung, as well as understanding the basic aspects of cellular aging.

Extensive Research Description

Currently, Dr. Niklason's research program has several areas of focus. With regard to engineered arteries. Niklason is engaged in preclinical studies in large animals to validate the method for generating engineered tissues that are available "off the shelf". Large animal studies on vascular grafts are centered on immune/inflammatory response minimization to these off-the-shelf tissues, and on the long-term function of the grafts in the arterial circulation. In addition, Niklason is developing tissue engineering approaches to generating vascularized cardiac muscle, as well as vascularized lung tissue. In addition, Niklason has active research interests in vascular remodeling that is associated with various disease states, including atherosclerosis and arterial vaso spasm.


Selected Publications

  • Petersen TH, Calle EA, Zhao L, Lee EJ, Gui L, Raredon MB, Gavrilov K, Yi T, Zhuang ZW, Breuer C, Herzog E, Niklason LE. 2010. Tissue engineered lungs for in vivo implantation. Science July 30; 329(5991):538-541.
  • Niklason LE, Yeh AT, Calle EA, Bai Y, Valentín A, Humphrey JD. 2010. Enabling tools for engineering collagenous tissues integrating bioreactors, intravital imaging, and biomechanical modeling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 23;107(8):3335-9. Epub 2009 Dec 1.
  • Klinger, R.Y., Blum, J.L., Hearn, B., Lebow, B., Niklason, L.E. 2006. Relevance and Safety of Telomerase for Human Tissue Engineering, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Track II) 103: 2500-2505.
  • Poh M., Boyer M., Solan A., Dahl S.L., Pedrotty D., Banik S.S., McKee J.A., Klinger R.Y., Counter C.M., Niklason L.E. 2005. Blood vessels engineered from human cells. Lancet 365: 2122-2124.

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