MSc. Clarissa Becher


My project is focused on Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) within the CVON-DOLPHIN and PHAEDRA Consortium. In 80% of the cases a mutation in the Type II receptor for bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is responsible for heritable PAH, resulting in a dysregulation of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling cascade. This results in microvasculature remodeling and an increase in vascular resistance causing an elevation in pulmonary artery pressure, eventually leading to right heart failure. Patients with PAH are often diagnosed late in the course of the disease with poor prognosis for survival. Therefore, my research aims to detect PH at an early stage of the disease to improve prognosis. To that end, patient and preclinical material will be used in combination with advanced culture models of vascular cells to characterize altered TGF-β/BMP signaling to investigate potential biomarkers for the early detection of PAH.   



I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Medical Biology  from the University of Essen in Germany and conducted my Master in Cardiovascular Science at the University Medical Center in Göttingen, Germany. My final internship to conduct my Master Thesis was performed at the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology in Coimbra in Portugal, with the aim to investigate the regenerative properties of miRNA-modulated exosomes in cardiac disease. I secured a fellowship for six months in the same group to continue the project. Currently, I am working as a PhD-candidate in the group of Marie-José Goumans, focusing on cellular processes in Pulmonary arterial hypertension.


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