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  4. Barbora Piknova, Ph.D.

Barbora Piknova, Ph.D.

Scientific Focus Areas: Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics

Professional Experience

  • NIH Staff Scientist, Present Molecular Medicine Branch, NIDDK, 2010
  • NIH Contractor Staff Scientist, Molecular Medicine Branch, NIDDK, 2005-2010
  • Senior Research Fellow, National Biomedical Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2003-2005
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Medicine Department, Oregon Health & Science University, 1998-2003
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry Department, University of Illinois, 1996-1998
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry Department, University of Virginia, 1993-1996
  • Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellow, National Centre for Scientific Research, Toulouse France, 1991-1993
  • Ph.D., Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia, 1992

Research Goal

The goal of our research is to provide a better understanding of vascular homeostasis regulation, especially in context of functional hyperemia.

Current Research

Our research examines the role of nitric oxide in vascular homeostasis, particularly in neurovascular coupling and hemodynamic response in the brain and in exercise-induced functional hyperemia in skeletal muscle. In brain tissue, we focus on nitrite as an alternative source of nitric oxide and in the possibility of involvement of ascorbic acid in nitrite conversion to nitric oxide and importance of this process in neurovascular coupling. The second area of interest includes nitric oxide metabolism and the balance of NOx compounds (nitrite, nitrate, and RSNO) in the vasculature and tissues that are associated with limited oxygen supply during ischemia. We examine the possible use of NOx compounds in the prevention and treatment of reperfusion injury. Recently, our focus shifted to mammalian tissue nitrate and nitrite reductases as well as nonenzymatic nitrite reduction into nitric oxide and their importance in normal physiology and as a possible source of nitric oxide for exercise-induced hyperemia.

Applying our Research

Some nitric oxide precursors are a part of normal healthy diet. Better understanding of their cycle and bio-transformation could affect prevention and treatment of vascular diseases.

Need for Further Study

More research is needed to understand the basic normal physiology of nitric oxide and its cycle in healthy humans.

Select Publications

Acid Test for Nitrite Pharmacology.
Piknova B, Schechter AN.
Hypertension (2017 Jan) 69:13-14. Abstract/Full Text
Measuring Nitrite and Nitrate, Metabolites in the Nitric Oxide Pathway, in Biological Materials using the Chemiluminescence Method.
Piknova B, Park JW, Cassel KS, Gilliard CN, Schechter AN.
J Vis Exp (2016 Dec 25) Abstract/Full Text
View More Publications

Research in Plain Language

Tissues regulate blood flow and pressure in their blood vesselsto matche oxygen and nutrition demands with supply.  Nitric oxide, a small gas molecule, plays a critical role in this process.  We study the formation of nitric oxide from different compounds, especially those contained in diet, in different tissues.  The goal of our research is to determine whether these reactions might lead to development of new treatments or prevention of diseases that affect blood vessels and if the simple dietary changes can improve cardiovascular and general health in ageing humans.