Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Thesis Topic: Changes in Oxygen Tension Rapidly and Reversibly Regulate Macrophage Nitric Oxide Production
Mary’s thesis work focused on the effect of a hypoxic environment on macrophage function. Specifially, she was interested in effects on nitric oxide production, one of the key components of the respiratory burst. Oxygen is a known substrate for nitric oxide, but the amount of oxygen needed and speed at which changes in oxygen tension would alter nitric oxide production were unknown. She used a system developed by my mentor, Cindy Otto, to show that changes in physiologic oxygen tensions significantly alter nitric oxide production within 30 seconds. This research has direct relevance to how we think about macrophage function in wounds and tumours where oxygen is much lower than normal due to an abberant vascular supply.
Mary received a 3-year fellowship from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium to study equine pharmacology at Penn's New Bolton Center with the guidance of Dr Larry Soma. They plan to use proteomics based techniques to enable the detection of horses treated with shock wave therapy prior to racing. Shock wave therapy has been shown to be as effective as denerving a horse in the first 24 to 36 hours after treatment, which means that horses running may over exert and seriously injure themselves. The racing jurisdictions consider it a priority to minimize catastrophic breakdowns at the track, and this research will help enable detection of horses that are at risk due to the illegal usage of shockwave therapy.