Haley Fuller 

Haley Fuller

Faculty Advisor: Warren Ruder

Research:

Hospitalization due to pulmonary hypertension (PH) has a prevalence rate of approximately 200,000 per year in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of additional undiagnosed cases suspected to occur across adults of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. In pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), defined as PH Group 1 by the World Health Organization (WHO), an increased mean arteriole pressure (mPAP) of ≥ 25 mmHg results from narrowed or hardened pulmonary arteries that present either idiopathically, heritably, or in association to certain drug uses. Due to an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms underlying PAH, clinicians are limited in their ability to scientifically investigate the arteriole’s change from healthy to diseased states during PAH pathogenesis.

Ms. Fuller’s research focus is to develop an organ-on-a-chip device that recapitulates lung physiology and PAH pathogenesis to study the progression of disease. Utilizing microfluidic technologies, she aims to develop an elastomeric device featuring a 3D culture environment and incorporating key cell phenotypes constituting the pulmonary arteriole and expected to be implicated in PAH. By manipulating the micromechanical environment with mechanical and fluidic inputs representative of respiration and pulsatile circulation, Ms. Fuller will simultaneously probe the arteriole-on-a-chip’s response to a cohort of chemical factors, transcriptional coactivators, and paracrine signaling molecules to assess similarity to disease. This approach will provide a novel tool to the medical community to effectively study genetic epidemiology, mechanism of disease, and identify potential cures for PAH and other pulmonary diseases in the future.