Louise Hecker, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Medicine
  • Research Investigator, Southern Arizona VA Health Care Sysytems
Research Interests: 

Dr. Hecker's research background and training are rooted in regenerative biology and investigating mechanisms of tissue injury-repair. Regenerative biology studies the molecular and cellular processes by which tissues and organs renew or repair themselves.  However, the normal healing and repair process becomes less efficient as we age. Dr. Hecker’s research is focused on understanding why this process "goes awry" in aging and identifying novel pathways that can be targeted to reverse age-associated diseases, such as Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Research by Dr. Hecker and her colleagues at UAB identified a novel role for NADPH oxidase-4, or Nox4, an oxidant-generating enzyme that plays a critical role in the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the lung (results were published in Nature Medicine in 2009). Dr. Hecker’s ongoing research involves discovering new drug candidates to target Nox4 and preclinical testing of novel therapies aimed to treat IPF. She is founder and chief scientific officer of Regenerative Solutions, LLC, a contract research organization that provides highly specialized preclinical testing services for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies with drug development platforms in pulmonary fibrosis. She is principal investigator on a study, “Aging, Fibroblast Senescence, and Apoptosis in Lung Fibrosis,” funded through June 2017 by a nearly $1 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs (1 IK2 BX001477-01A1).

Degrees
  • BA: Hartwick College - Oneonta, Biology, 2000
  • MA: Binghamton University, Biological Sciences, 2002
  • MS: University of Michigan, Cell and Developmental Biology, 2007
  • PhD: University of Michigan, Applied Physics, 2008
Honors and Awards
  • McClung Award, Biological Honor Society, 2001
  • Young Alumni Award, Hartwick College, 2006
  • Participant, Birmingham Venture Club's Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, 2009
  • Semi-finalist, Alabama Launchpad (Governor’s statewide Business Plan Competition), 2011
  • Top-five finalist, Alabama Launchpad (Governor’s statewide Business Plan Competition), 2012
  • Affiliate, American Thoracic Society
  • Affiliate, Arizona Center on Aging
Fellowship
  • University of Michigan, Lung Injury-Repair, 2009

Select Publications

2017

Palumbo, S., Y-J. Shin, K. Ahmad, A. A. Desai, H. Quijada, M. Mohamed, A. Knox, S. Sammani, B. A. Colson, T. Wang, et al., "Dysregulated Nox4 ubiquitination contributes to redox imbalance and age-related severity of acute lung injury.", Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol, vol. 312, issue 3, pp. L297-L308, 2017 Mar 01. PMID: 28062482
Ding, Q., I. Subramanian, T. R. Luckhardt, P. Che, M. Waghray, X. Zhao, N. Bone, A. R. Kurundkar, L. Hecker, M. Hu, et al., "Focal Adhesion Kinase Signaling Determines the Fate of Lung Epithelial Cells in Response to TGF-β.", Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol, pp. ajplung.00121.2016, 2017 Mar 30. PMID: 28360109

2016

Hecker, L., and V. J. Thannickal, "Getting to the core of fibrosis: targeting redox imbalance in aging.", Ann Transl Med, vol. 4, issue 5, pp. 93, 2016 Mar. PMCID: PMC4791330  PMID: 27047952
Bime, C., T. Zhou, T. Wang, M. J. Slepian, J. G. N. Garcia, and L. Hecker, "Reactive oxygen species-associated molecular signature predicts survival in patients with sepsis.", Pulm Circ, vol. 6, issue 2, pp. 196-201, 2016 Jun. PMCID: PMC4869924  PMID: 27252846
Wang, T., B. Mathew, X. Wu, Y. Shimizu, A. N. Rizzo, S. M. Dudek, R. R. Weichselbaum, J. R. Jacobson, L. Hecker, and J. G. N. Garcia, "Nonmuscle myosin light chain kinase activity modulates radiation-induced lung injury.", Pulm Circ, vol. 6, issue 2, pp. 234-9, 2016 Jun. PMCID: PMC4869928  PMID: 27252850