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2010 Wylie Scholar
Assistant Professor of Surgery
University of Pittsburgh

As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Tillman’s research investigates how a particular type of stem cell in the blood leads to recurrent blockage after a stent or bypass graft. This disease is responsible for failure of over half of all vascular interventions in less than five years and is a major cause of additional procedures, limb loss and mortality among cardiac, vascular, and dialysis patients. Dr. Tillman’s principal research direction has been to understand how a vessel procedure causes the release of these stem cells from the bone marrow and then how these cells contribute to recurrent vessel blockage.

A second focus of the laboratory includes the development of novel endovascular devices. These include a radiofrequency guided balloon device to reduce bleeding after military and civilian trauma until patients can reach the hospital and another device to improve recovery of donor organs for transplantation by directed perfusion of organ vessels.

“The Wylie Scholar award allowed me to explore a new hypothesis about how certain cells in the blood contribute to vascular graft and stent failure. As a result of this award, we have a better understanding of how this disease occurs and have developed several strategies to prevent this life and limb-threatening problem. As a result of the Wylie award, I have had the opportunity to collect essential preliminary data to support our applications for federal funding and support this important study.”

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