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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

We focus on nitrite and nitrate as alternative sources of nitric oxide in tissues. Recently, we identified skeletal muscle as the possible largest nitrate reservoir in mammalian body. We hypothesize that this reservoir supplies nitric oxide during low oxygen situation, such as high-altitude exposure, exercise or various ischemia-related states. Enzymes responsible for nitrate and nitrite reduction are molybdenum-containing proteins (as an example, xanthine oxidoreductase) and heme-containing protein (as an example, myoglobin), respectively. Both classes of proteins are present in skeletal muscle and other tissues and we showed that bot, nitrate-to-nitrite and nitrite-to-nitric oxide reduction happens in muscle and liver tissues. Presently, we are examining the transport of dietary nitrate into these tissues and its turnover along the metabolic pathways. 

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.