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Dr. Gabriela Kuster Pfister
PD Dr. Otmar Pfister



Dr. Gabriela Kuster Pfister
Dr. Otmar Pfister
Myocardial Research
Department of Biomedicine and Clinic of Cardiology
University Hospital Basel
Petersgraben 4
CH-4031 Basel / Switzerland

Phone +41 61 328 77 36
Fax +41 61 265 23 50

Gabriela Kuster Pfister is group leader at the Department of Biomedicine and a cardiologist at the Clinic of Cardiology of the University Hospital Basel. The research of her group Myocardial Research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of myocardial remodeling and repair with the ultimate goal to identify novel targets and to develop novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of heart failure. Together with Otmar Pfister, a clinical cardiologist and director of the division Heart Failure and Transplantation, they are studying the regulation and role of heart-resident cardiac progenitor cells (CPC) in this remodeling process. CPC have the capacity to differentiate into all cardiac cell lineages including cardiomyocytes and they play an important role in the maintenance of the myocardial cell homeostasis over a lifespan. Functional impairment of CPC has therefore detrimental effects on the integrity of the myocardium and may lead to heart failure. The function of CPC is largely determined by the surrounding environment. In this so-called “niche”, a variety of cytokines and growth factors regulate survival as well as proliferation and differentiation capacities of CPC. Analogous to bone marrow-derived progenitor cells, CPC exhibit receptor systems that are responsive to hematopoietic growth factors and similar systems may be expressed on cardiomyocytes. In ongoing projects, the group is currently studying how reactive oxygen species and hematopoietic growth factors including Flt3 ligand and erythropoietin regulate the function and fate of CPC and cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, in collaboration with Prof. Liao from Harvard Medical School in Boston, the potential role of the ATP-binding cassette transporter MDR1 in the regulation of CPC and myocardial remodeling is examined.

Recent publications related to stem cells:

  • Kuster GM, Lancel S, Zhang J, Communal C, Trucillo MP, Lim CC, Pfister O, Weinberg EO, Cohen RA, Liao R, Siwik DA. and Colucci WS. (2010). Redox-mediated reciprocal regulation of SERCA and Na+-Ca2+ exchanger contributes to sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ depletion in cardiac myocytes. Free Radic Biol Med. 48:1182-7.
  • Häuselmann SP, Rosc-Schlüter BI, Lorenz V, Plaisance I, Brink M, Pfister O. and Kuster GM. (2011). β1-Integrin is up-regulated via Rac1-dependent reactive oxygen species as part of the hypertrophic cardiomyocyte response. Free Radic Biol Med. 51:609-18.
  • Rosc-Schlüter BI, Häuselmann SP, Lorenz V, Mochizuki M, Facciotti F, Pfister O. and Kuster GM. (2012). NOX2-derived reactive oxygen species are crucial for CD29-induced pro-survival signalling in cardiomyocytes. Cardiovasc Res. 93:454-62.
  • Pfister O, Lorenz V, Oikonomopoulos A, Xu L, Häuselmann SP, Mbah C, Kaufmann BA, Liao R, Wodnar-Filipowicz A, Kuster GM. (2014). Flt3 activation improves post-myocardial infarction remodeling involving a cytoprotective effect on cardiomyocytes. J Am Coll Cardiol. 63:1011-9.
  • Pfister O, Della Verde G, Liao R, Kuster GM. (2014). Regenerative therapy for cardiovascular disease. Transl Res. 163:307-20.
  • Kuster GM, Liao R. (2016). Fortune Favors the Prepared: Safety and Efficacy of Allogeneic Hypoxia Preconditioned Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Primates. Circ Res. 118:908-10.


  • Kuster GM, Häuselmann SP, Rosc-Schlüter BI, Lorenz V. and Pfister O. (2010). Reactive oxygen/nitrogen species and the myocardial cell homeostasis: an ambiguous relationship. Antioxid Redox Signal. 13:1899-910.
  • Pfister O, Della Verde G, Liao R, Kuster GM. (2014). Regenerative therapy for cardiovascular disease. Transl Res. 163:307-20.
  • Pfister O, Della Verde G, Liao R, Kuster GM. (2014). Regenerative therapy for cardiovascular disease. Transl Res. 163:307-20.