Spiekerkoetter Lab

News from the Lab

May 2023

New Spiekerkoetter Lab Manager

We welcome Chunli Zhao, PhD, research scientist and new lab manager in the lab.

March 2023

Congratulations to Katharina Schimmel, PhD for receiving the Parker B Francis Fellowship Award 2023 for her project entitled: Pulmonary Arteriovenous Malformations in Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT).

Her aims are to determine the role of somatic mutations as well as second pathogenic rare germline variants of HHT and non-HHT genes that increase the risk of AVM development in the lung and brain. In addition to her primary mentor Dr. Edda Spiekerkoetter, she has assembled a strong team of additional co-mentors and collaborators: 

Co-Mentors: Alokkumar Jha, PhD (Weill Cornell University) and Mark Nicolls, MD at Stanford University. Collaborators: Evan Brittain, MD (Vanderbilt University), Karin Tran-Lundmark, MD, PhD (Lund University, Sweden), Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD (Stanford University).

Katharina Schimmel also received the Career Development Award 2023 from the American Heart Association


Congratulations to Kenzo Ichimura, MD, PhD for being selected as one of the 2023 Ignite Fellows. The Stanford Ignite Program is a program in entrepreneurship and innovation for working professionals and graduate students that provides the business fundamentals necessary to succeed at any entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial venture. 


December 2022

Congratulations to Katharina Schimmel, PhD for presenting her research about a novel mouse model of pulmonary AVMs oral presentation at the International Vascular Biology Meeting (IVBM), Oakland, CA, October 13-17, 2022, for which she received the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute Travel Award.  

November 2022

Congratulations to Kenzo Ichimura, MD, PhD who was selected as Finalist for the prestigious AHA Cournand and Comroe Early Career Investigator Award at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago, November, 2022.

September 29-October 2, 2022

Attending the 14th HHT International Scientific Conference: Katharina Schimmel (Postdoc), Sheetal Vaghela (nurse coordinator, Stanford HHT COE), Edda Spiekerkoetter (director HHT Stanford COE)

August 2022

Congratulations to Rodriguez Cantu Valadez, who presented his research about “Spatial Transcriptomics of BMPR2 signaling in advanced lung lesions in PAH” in front of the Stanford Community as well as friends and family. Rodriguez spent his summer between his junior and senior year as a SIMR Student in the Spiekerkoetter lab. He was mentored by Instructor, Adam Andruska. He will return to Los Gatos High School to complete his senior year before heading off to college.

The Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) is an eight-week program in which high school students from diverse backgrounds are invited to perform basic research with Stanford faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students and researchers on a medically-oriented project. The goals of the program include increasing interest in biological sciences and medicine in high school students, helping students to understand how scientific research is performed, and increasing diversity of students and researchers in the sciences.

July 2022

Congratulations to Adam Andruska, MD for receiving the prestigious Parker B Francis Fellowship Award for his research project: Identifying T cell-vascular signaling as a driver of pulmonary hypertension. Adam will be mentored for this award by Dr. Maya Kumar and Dr. Edda Spiekerkoetter.


Led by Dr. Edda Spiekerkoetter, our research focuses on the importance of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor 2 (BMPR2) signaling pathway in pulmonary, pulmonary-vascular as well as cardiac disease.

In 2000 two independent groups discovered mutations in the BMPR2 pathway as the genetic basis for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Over the past years more mutations either directly involved in the BMPR2 pathway (Endoglin, Alk1, Smad9) or indirectly linked to the BMPR2 pathway (Caveolin-1) have been discovered, emphasizing the central role of BMPR2 signaling in familial PAH. It was subsequently found that reduced BMPR2 expression and signaling seems to be a feature of other sporadic or idiopathic forms of PAH.