Dr Kalia heads the Microcirculation Research Group which aims to investigate the role of the microcirculation in the pathophysiology of Ischaemia-Reperfusion (I/R) injury. Although she has significant experience in intravitally imaging a number of I/R injured organs including the small intestine, kidneys and liver, the current focus of her research is on investigating the role of the coronary microcirculation in myocardial infarction. To achieve this, her research team developed a novel methodology that allows the beating heart coronary microcirculation to be visualised in real-time in vivo. This method is being exploited to quantitate changes in thromboinflammatory events, microvascular leakage, tissue perfusion, functional capillary density and microvascular tone in response to myocardial I/R injury. Additional imaging modalities used include laser Doppler, laser speckle and infrared thermography.
A multi-disciplinary approach is being used to identify novel cellular and molecular mechanisms contributing to coronary microvascular perturbations. Potential therapeutic targets under consideration are newly discovered members of the interleukin (IL)-1 superfamily including the IL-36/IL-36R pathway. Whether contemporary and novel cardiovascular drugs, such as anti-platelets, can be repurposed for treating coronary microcirculatory disturbances post-reperfusion injury is also being investigated. Her group has also published extensively on the microvascular benefits of cellular therapies, particualrly heamatopietic and mesenchymal stem cells. Determining whether cardiovascular co-morbidities such as ageing and diabetes increase the susceptibility of coronary microcirculation to I/R injury is a central component of the Dr Kalia’s programme of research.
The Microcirculation Research Group is largely funded by the British Heart Foundation. Follow their research activities on the Microcirculation Research Group website and on Twitter @MRG_UoB.
The intravital imaging facility will consider collaborations from external parties on any aspects of vascular research - please contact Dr Kalia for further information.