Susan M. Lessner, Ph.D.

Susan M. Lessner, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Cell Biology & Anatomy
University of South Carolina School of Medicine

Office: 803-216-3819
Lab:    803-216-3837
Fax:     803-216-3846



Princeton University – Bachelors of Science in Engineering – Chemical Engineering
2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Ph.D. – Chemical Engineering  
2003 Emory University – Post Doctoral Fellow – Division of Cardiology

Research Focus

Ak475_10x_8mos_WD_1and2ndIC2-2Dr. Lessner's research interests center on the vascular biology and biomechanics of atherosclerosis, with an emphasis on intraplaque angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) and mechanical failure (plaque rupture).  Atherosclerotic plaque rupture is a leading cause of acute cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.  Evidence available to date suggests that plaque rupture results from an adverse interaction between biomechanical and biological factors.  Research in our lab focuses on understanding both these types of factors and their interplay, in order to develop improved methods to reduce the incidence of plaque rupture and its harmful consequences.  In terms of the biology of plaque rupture, we focus in particular on the role of intraplaque angiogenesis, or new blood vessel growth, as a destabilizing factor in plaque growth. We also collaborate with faculty in Mechanical Engineering to develop constitutive models of normal and diseased arterial tissue.

Recent Publications

  • H. R. Bateman, Q. Liang, D. Fan, V. Rodriguez, and S. M. Lessner (2013) Sparstolonin B inhibits pro-angiogenic functions and blocks cell cycle progression in endothelial cells. PLOS ONE (in press)
  • Avril S, Badel P, Gabr M, Sutton MA, Lessner SM (2013) Biomechanics of porcine renal arteries and role of axial stretch. J Biomech Eng 135:81007-81010
  • Wang Y, Johnson JA, Fulp A, Sutton MA, Lessner SM (2013) Adhesive strength of atherosclerotic plaque in a mouse model depends on local collagen content and elastin fragmentation. J Biomech 46:716-722
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