Edda Spiekerkoetter, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Principal Investigator

Dr. Spiekerkoetter is an Associate Professor of Medicine and staff pulmonologist at Stanford University who is a nationally and internationally renowned expert in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). She runs an active basic-translational research laboratory that focuses on understanding the mechanisms of pulmonary vascular remodeling, right ventricular adaptation and failure as well as, most recently, the development of pulmonary vascular malformations. She is the co-founder and director of the Stanford Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Center of Excellence for which she coordinates the multidisciplinary clinical care, education as well as the clinical and basic science research programs.  More Dr. Spiekerkoetter received a B.Sc. from the University in Tuebingen, Germany in 1988, and her M.D. from the University of Freiburg in 1995, Germany. Following a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Hannover Medical School, Germany, she did a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Rabinovitch’s lab at Stanford (2002-06), funded by a fellowship award from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (2003-05), focusing on the interaction between two susceptibility genes for Pulmonary Hypertension, BMPR2 and S100A4/Mts1. Dr. Spiekerkoetter continued her clinical training with fellowships in Pulmonary and Critical Care (2007-08) and in Critical Care (2008-09) at the Stanford University Medical Center.

She was one of the first researchers in the field of PAH who focused on the genetic basis of PAH, predominantly mutations in the Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor 2 (BMPR2) signaling pathway, as a therapeutic target for PAH. Her discovery of the immunosuppressive drug FK506 (Tacrolimus) as a BMPR2 activating FDA approved drug is recognized in the field as one of the first BMPR2 modulating and potentially effective therapies for PAH. Her discovery lead to the completion of a phase II clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of FK506 in PAH (www.clinical NCT01647945) (Eur Resp J 2017) and the compassionate use of this drug in end-stage PAH (Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 2015). She was able to show that increasing BMP signaling with FK506 was beneficial in bladder cancer (Cancer Cell, 2014), neonatal lung disease (Thorax, 2022) as well as epistaxis in HHT (Pulm Circulation, 2018). Furthermore, dysfunctional BMP signaling resulted in an increase in cardiac fibrosis in the pulmonary artery banding (PAB) mouse model, a preclinical model of fixed RV pressure overload and RV failure. FK506 treatment was able to reduce fibrosis and improve RV function (Am J of Respir and Cell Mol Biol, 2021).

For the past 20 years she has been continuously funded by the American Heart Association, Pulmonary Hypertension Association and NIH/NHLBI through postdoctoral as well as career development awards (K12 and K08). She has received two R01s and two DoD grants as independent primary investigator and additional R01, R56 and DoD grants as co-investigator. Mentoring is important to her and her mentees, 16 undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral fellows have been able to secure funding from the Max Kade foundation, the NIH, AHA as well as Parker B Francis foundation and several were able to secure faculty or senior scientist positions after leaving my lab.

Her research has led to 3 patent applications for the use of the repurposed drugs FK506 (Tacrolimus) and Enzastaurin as treatment for PAH as well as Brivanib for the treatment of HHT.  Overall, she is a well-funded, well-published established investigator with 60 publications in journals such as the NEJM, Am J of Resp Crit Care Med, J Clin Invest, Eur Respir J, Circulation, Circulation Research and Cardiovascular Research and is a highly sought after invited speaker, moderator, session chair and grant reviewer. 


Tianyi Zhang, MSc

Basic Life Research Scientist, Lab Manager

Tianyi Zhang graduated with a MSc degree in Medical Physiology in 2023. Her general interest is vascular physiology and pathology in vascular diseases. Her plan is to apply for Medical School and work towards a physician/ physician-scientist career as her long-term career goal.  

During her master studies at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, her work focused on studying sickle cell disease using an organ on chip model to mimic the microvascular circulation in the lung under the mentorship of Prof. Ran An. Her work further investigated the changes in endothelial cells under blood flow in hypoxic and normoxic conditions. Specifically, she compared the difference of red blood cell adhesion between sickle cell patient blood and healthy blood to study different pathways of sickle cell disease pathologies.  

She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with a major in Neuroscience. In 2018, she learned to perform animal care and experiments including genotyping of transgenic mice in Dr. Kerppola’s biochemistry lab studying molecular interactions in living mice with different cancer pathologies.   

She is the current lab manager and contributes to research conducted in Dr. Spiekerkoetter’s lab.

Adam Andruska, MD

Instructor in Medicine – since 2022
Postdoctoral Research Fellow: 2019 - 2022
Parker B Francis Fellowship Awardee
T32 Training Grant in Lung Biology

As an early career physician-scientist with a non-traditional engineering and bioinformatics background, Adam Andruska’s long-term career goal is to dissect cell-cell signaling networks in pulmonary vascular biology. He has a specific interest in understanding how immune cell lineages communicate with lung vascular cells during health and disease. He is motivated by the premise that applying contemporary single-cell technologies to study complex biological phenomenon, such as the vasculopathy of pulmonary hypertension, will lead to insight into how and when to intervene effectively in disease pathogenesis.  More Adam began his career as a mechanical engineer and learned how control theory could be used to both describe and control complex systems. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois as well as a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. In medical school, at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, he learned to use his engineering background to study biological systems in Dr. Gregory Brewer’s lab. Here, he developed a method of measuring spatiotemporal patterns of action potential discharges in neurons cultured on a network of micro-electrical arrays. The work allowed demonstration of in vitro neuron plasticity and resulted in a co-authored publication. In residency at Washington University, St Louis, under the mentorship of Marin Kolleff and Shane LaRue, he developed a love for cardiopulmonary physiology, and learned to use large datasets to answer clinical outcomes questions, leading to a first author paper and several co-authored publications.  

With the career goal of a physician-scientist in mind, he completed his fellowship training in pulmonary medicine at Stanford University, renowned for its translational and basic science. At Stanford, he sought the mentorship of Dr. Edda Spiekerkoetter and Dr. Maya Kumar along with the senior mentorship of Dr. Mark Nicolls. Here his interest pointed him to examine a specific signaling pathway in pulmonary hypertension – the Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor 2 pathway (BMPR2) - while simultaneously learning to perform and apply single-cell RNA sequencing technologies to describe cell-cell signaling networks in an inflammatory mouse model of pulmonary hypertension.   

During his undergraduate training, he was repeatedly on the Dean’s list for the college of engineering and completed a competitive engineering graduate program at Purdue University. In medical school, he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. During his residency training, he was elected as intern of the month. At Stanford University, he was awarded a competitive T32 training grant in pulmonary biology after serving as Chief Fellow during his pulmonary fellowship training.

Adam is currently junior faculty in the Department of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine at Stanford University. As an instructor, he attends in both the pulmonary hypertension outpatient clinic and in the intensive care unit.     


Kenzo Ichimura, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow – since 2019
AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship Awardee

Kenzo Ichimura’s long-term goal as a physician-scientist is to develop therapeutic strategies for right heart failure by elucidating its pathophysiology. 

Kenzo graduated from Kyushu University, School of Medicine in Fukuoka, Japan in 2008. Following a residency program at Aso Iizuka Hospital, he finished fellowship in Emergency Medicine (1 year) and Cardiovascular Medicine (2 years). His clinical expertise is general cardiology, cardiac catheterization, echocardiography, and cardiac critical care.  More After his clinical training, he started his research career working towards a Ph.D. under the mentorship of Dr. Kensuke Egashira. During his Ph.D., he published two papers focusing on the development of novel therapeutics for acute myocardial infarction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. Through this research experience, he developed skills in modeling and assessing cardiovascular disease in both small (rodents) and large animals (pigs).

In 2017, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor and attending physician in the Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine at Kyushu University Hospital. During this period, he learned that right heart failure was one of the most devastating conditions with no treatment options in patients with pulmonary hypertension, congenital heart disease, and patients on long-term mechanical ventricular assist devices. He also continued his research with a research grant funded by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

In 2019, he decided to further expand his research field into right heart failure and joined Dr. Edda Spiekerkoetter’s lab at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow. He is currently focusing on the role of BMPR2 in the cardiomyocytes, the structural changes in the right ventricle under pressure overload, and the development of therapies that particularly target the right ventricle in pulmonary hypertension. 


Katharina Schimmel, PhD

Postdoc 2020 - 2023
Since 2023, Instructor
NHLBI T32 Awardee
Parker B Francis Fellow
AHA Career Development Awardee

After receiving her MSc degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria, Katharina joined the International PhD Program “Molecular Medicine” at the Hannover Biomedical Research School in Germany. During her PhD, she discovered anti-fibrotic small molecules for the treatment of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction of the heart under the mentorship of Prof. Thomas Thum.

Intrigued by the opportunity to expand her expertise with cardiac regeneration research, she joined Prof. Ronglih Liao’s lab at the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute in 2018 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and demonstrated detrimental effects of in utero exposure to cigarette smoke on murine cardiac regeneration in the offspring.   More In the year 2020, Katharina became interested in diseases affecting the lung. She therefore joined Prof. Edda Spiekerkoetter’s lab to determine the pathogenesis of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations, which are abnormal connections between arteries and veins, and a major complication of the disease Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia. For this, she is generating an experimental mouse model of disease applying 3D high-resolution deep tissue confocal microscopy imaging and uses human arteriovenous malformation samples. To tackle her research questions, Katharina is collaborating with world-leading experts of the Stanford Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia Center of Excellence that range from pathologists, diagnostic imaging specialists, and geneticists to practicing physicians.


Yue Qi, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow since 2023

Yue graduated with a BS degree in Life Sciences and Biotechnology from Wuhan University, China, where she became interested in biomedical research. In 2015, she joined the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to pursue her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology. During her PhD, she studied the role of c-Myc in endothelial function and tissue homeostasis under the mentorship of Dr. Claudia Rodrigues. Her research focuses on diet-induced steatohepatitis, using transgenic mouse models.

After receiving her PhD degree in 2022, she joined the 23andMe Therapeutic Division as an Associate Scientist in the Cardio-Metabolism Drug Discovery group. Her work included identifying potential drug targets from an internal genetic database and performing experiments for target validation and assay development. During her 1-year industry work, she participated in early-stage preclinical studies and gained valuable experience in genomics-driven drug discovery.   More In 2023, she decided to go back to academia for additional training and joined Dr. Edda Spiekerkoetter’s lab at Stanford University as a postdoctoral scholar. Her overall research interest is the genetic basis of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders as a novel avenue for drug development. Here, she will study the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing the development of arteriovenous malformation (AVMs), the major complication of Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT). For this, she will be collaborating with the laboratory of Drs Joseph Wu and Kyle Loh to differentiate HHT patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into arterial and venous endothelial cells and study their transcriptomic prolife. In addition to the in vitro study, she will also work with Dr Schimmel on an experimental mouse model of pulmonary AVMs.


Former Lab Members

Md Khadem Ali, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: 2018 - 2022
Translational Research and Applied Medicine (TRAM) Awardee

Dr Ali is a pulmonary vascular and airways disease biology researcher. Specifically, he is interested in investigating the mechanisms that underpin development of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary fibrosis. His overarching goal is to discover improved therapies for individuals suffering from these devastating lung diseases.  More His academic training and research experience across 4 nations and 3 continents have provided him with an excellent background in multiple biological disciplines including pulmonology, immunology, molecular biology, microbiology, and cell biology. He received a B.Sc in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in 2010 from Khulna University, Bangladesh, an M.Sc. in Systems Biotechnology in 2013 from Chung-Ang University, South Korea, and a PhD in Immunology and Microbiology in 2018 from the University of Newcastle, Australia. His PhD focused on the role of iron in lung disease. In Nov 2018, he joined Spiekerkoetter lab at Stanford to identify clinically significant novel bone morphogenic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) signaling modifier genes that could be targeted with repurposed drugs to increase BMPR2 expression and signaling, one of the key pathways and potential master switch in PAH. In addition, he has been working on dysfunctional TGF-β/BMPR2 signaling in HHT that causes vascular malformations in different organs, including the lung. He was Co-Director of Stanford Cardiovascular Institute Postdoc Conference 2020-2021.

Research interests:

  1. Targeting BMPR2 signaling modifiers in PAH with repurposed drugs
  2. Role of long non-coding RNAs and circular RNAs in BMPR2 signaling in PAH
  3. Identifying common and unique downstream genes and signaling pathways of HHT/PAVM causing gene mutations (ALK1, ENG, SMAD4)
  4. Role of ferroptosis in the pathogenesis of asthma, pulmonary hypertension


Emma Neckmar

Medical Student
Visiting Researcher
STINT Grant: Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education
Project: Synchrotron-based micro-CT to study vascular remodeling in experimental pulmonary hypertension
Current Position: 2nd year Medical Student, Lund University, Sweden

Ebba Alberius

Medical Student

Visiting Researcher
STINT Grant: Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education

Project: Combining complementary imaging modalities to explore the treatment effects of tacrolimus on vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension using the Sugen/Hypoxia rat model
Current Position: 2nd year Medical Student, Lund University, Sweden

Rodriguez Cantu Valadez

SIMR High School Student
Doris Duke Foundation
Project: Spatial Transcriptomics of BMPR2 signaling in advanced lung lesions in PAH
Mentor: Adam Andruska
Current Position: Senior, Los Gatos High School

Mira Morales

SIMR High School Student
Doris Duke Foundation
Project: The role of long-noncoding RNAs in PAH
Mentor: MD Khadem Ali
Current Position: Undergraduate UC Davis California

Xuefei Tian, MD, MS

Life Science Research Assistant 2012-2021
Lab Manager
Current Position:
Scientist Gilead Sciences, Foster City, CA

Xuefei Tian joined the Spiekerkoetter lab in 2012 as a research assistant and served as a lab manager since 2016. Prior to joining the team, she earned her M.S. from University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in 2008, and worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Dr. Bissell’s laboratory from 2008-2012 as a research associate exploring the role of the extracellular-matrix (ECM) in regulation of gene expression in breast cancer as well as being responsible for maintaining different transgenic mouse lines. She is experienced in all molecular biology techniques, qRT-PCR, ELISA, Nano-Immuno-Assay, DNA, RNA and protein isolation. Xuefei performed the siRNA High-throughput screen to identify modifier genes of the BMPR2 pathway in PAH, which is the bases pf several other studies in the lab and resulted in the discovery of the gene FHIT as modulator of BMPR2. Furthermore, in collaboration with postdoc Mario Boehm, she showed that increasing BMPR2 signaling with FK506 (tacrolimus) improved cardiac fibrosis and right ventricular function in the PAB mouse model of RV afterload by inhibiting proliferation and collagen expression or cardiac fibroblasts.

Yuquiang Mao, MD, PhD

Visiting Researcher: 2018-2019
Postdoctoral Research Fellow: 2019-2020
Project: Topic: 3-D deep tissue imaging to understand to the molecular and structural adaptation of the right ventricle (RV) in response to RV afterload
Current Position: Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery, Sheng Jing Hospital, China Medical University, China

Yiwei Shi, MD, PhD

Visiting Research Fellow: 2018-2019
Project: Topic: Evaluating the effect of a novel BMPR modifying drug in pulmonary arterial hypertension, Enzastaurin
Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Respiratory Disease, Shanxi Medical University Affiliated First Hospital, Taiyuan, China

Alan Kiang, MD

Resident: 2019, Stanford Medicine
Project: BMPR2 expression in Group 2 and 3 PH as biomarker
Current Position: Cardiology Fellow, Cleveland Clinic

Kazuya Kuramoto, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: 2016-2018
Project: The role of BMPR2 in cardiomyocyte function using PAH patient derived iPSC- Cardiomyocytes
Current Position: Senior Scientist, Nippon Shinyaku Co, Japan

Dr. Kuramoto received his Bachelor and Masters of Science from the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science at Kyoto University, Japan in 2004 and 2006 respectively. He received his PhD in Life Sciences from the Graduate School of Biostudies at Kyoto University in 2009 with a thesis entitled ‘Research of the functions of the Cdc42 activator Zizimin family proteins in hippocampal neurons’. Since 2009, he works at the Discovery Research Laboratories of Nippon Shinyaku Co, Ltd in Japan, initially in the Blood Cancer Group and most recently in the Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) Group.  Nippon Shinyaku Co, Ltd developed the prostacyclin receptor agonist, Selexipag, one of the most recently FDA approved drugs for PAH.   More His in vitro experience included: RNA extraction, PCR, cloning, western blotting, cell culture, transfection, immunostaining, ELISA, colony-forming unit assay, flow cytometric analysis, human/rat PASMC proliferation ([3H]-thymidine/BrdU incorporation, MTT) as well as in situ hybridization. His in vivo experience included po/sc/ip/iv administration and blood and tissue collection in mice/rats, mouse/rat PAH model (Monocrotaline, Sugen-hypoxia, hypoxia) as well as the xenograft model.


Mario Boehm, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: 2016-2018
Project: 1. Targeting BMPR2 to reduced RV fibrosis. 2. Developing 3D deep tissue imaging of the microvasculature in the right ventricle. 3. Establishing the De-banding model in the RV
Max Kade Foundation Grant Recipient
Current Position: Senior Scientist, CSL Behring, Germany

Mario Boehm completed a Bachelor od Science in Biology at the Ruhr-University in Bochum followed by a Masters in Biology focusing on the “Functional characterization of chemoreceptors in human muscle cells”. He joined the University of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC) for his PhD on the “Role of nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2) in an experimental model of right ventricular failure” under the mentorship of Dr. Schermuly. In the Spiekerkoetter Lab he established the PAB mouse model of moderate RV afterload, developed a de-banding model to study RV recovery as well as the deep tissue imaging of the right ventricle using confocal imaging.

Svenja Dannewitz Posseda, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: 2016-2018
Project: The role of FHIT in BMPR2 modulation in pulmonary hypertension
Current Position: Group Leader ‘Biomedical Regulation of the Mammary Tumor Microenvironment’, University Freiburg, Germany
Founder & CEO Bioneer UG
Founder & CEO Serena GmbH

Svenja Dannewitz joined the Spiekerkoetter Lab in May 2016 as a postdoctoral research fellow. Svenja received a Bachelor in Biochemical Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt a. M., Germany in 2005- 2010. She received her Master’s degree in Cell Biology at the University of Manchester, UK in 2011. In October 2015, she completed her postgraduate studies with a PhD in Immmunology at the University of Sheffield, UK where she investigated neutrophil survival pathways in lung disease under the mentorship of Prof. Moira Whyte and Prof. Ian Sabroe. Before joining the Spiekerkoetter lab, she worked in Prof. Paul Evans lab in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Sheffield where she received training in isolation and culture of HUVECs, 3D EC culture model, murine models of cardiovascular disease, the ibidi flow system, mouse aortic isolation as well as preparation and en face staining.

Jerry Kuang 

SIMR student: 2013
Undergraduate researcher: 2013-2015

Project: The role of BMPR2 signaling in Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EndMT)
Current Position: Life Science Research Assistant Stanford University

Jerry Kuang is originally from Gilroy, California. He did his undergraduate studies at Stanford University majoring in Human Biology with interests in public health and medical research. He joined the Spiekerkoetter lab in 2013 as a participant of the Stanford Institutes of Medical Research program (SIMR). Jerry’s primary research interest is in studying Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor 2 (BMPR2) signaling in the heart and specifically the role of BMP signaling in regulating Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EndMT). In addition, he is investigating the relationship between Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1-α (Hif1-α) and BMP signaling. He has previously worked for Stanford Hospital & Clinics in the Clinical Technology and Biomedical Engineering department.

Beyond research, Jerry enjoys playing tennis, serving as an academic tutor, and performing as a solo pianist and concert saxophonist.

Deepti Sudheendra, MS

Life Science Research Assistant 2012-2016
Lab Manager
Current Position: Senior Manager, Clinical Biomarker Data Management at Seagen after having been the Biospecimen Acquisition and data Team Lead at Roche Molecular Systems, Inc, Pleasanton, CA

Deepti Sudheendra earned her Bachelors in microbiology and received a Diploma in genetic engineering and in plant tissue culture from Bangalore University, India. She received her Master in Biotechnology from Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom in 2007. Her master thesis focused on the development of RT-PCR to detect virulence genes in biotype 1A Y.enterocolitica. After her MS degree, Deepti worked as a molecular biologist and project coordinator in a Biotech service company in Chicago for almost three years mainly focusing on projects from the NIH and CDC. She has experience with diverse molecular biology techniques, sequencing and immunocytochemistry and was responsible for the experimental design, execution and data delivery to the customers while training and supporting new employees.    More Deepti joined the Spiekerkoetter lab in 2012 as a research assistant and lab manager. Her work has focused on developing a blood signature for BMPR2 signaling, a High Throughput small molecule Screen to identify BMPR2 activators and inhibitors as well as looking at BMPR2 signaling in neonatal lung disease.