Kathleen Gabrielson, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Kathleen Gabrielson, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Associate Professor



North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC



Dr. Kathleen Gabrielson is an associate professor of molecular and comparative biology and environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research efforts focus on the signal transduction of cardiovascular toxicities in vitro, in cardiomyocyte culture and in vivo, using rodent models. She also collaborates with multiple investigators within Johns Hopkins and other universities on items ranging from cancer research to cardiovascular research.

Before she entered veterinary school, Dr. Gabrielson worked in neuroscience and endocrinology research at the University of Texas, San Antonio; University of California, San Diego; and the San Diego Zoo. She graduated from North Carolina State University Veterinary College of Medicine in 1989 and then entered a postdoctoral fellowship in veterinary pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before entering a Ph.D. program in toxicology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, she worked as a diagnostic pathologist and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Dr. Gabrielson joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2000.

Dr. Gabrielson focuses on rats and mice in her own lab. She has created the only known animal model geared to explain, and perhaps one day circumvent, the severe and sometimes fatal heart problems that can occur when two potent anticancer drugs are used together.

Dr. Gabrielson also has a faculty appointment in the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and, through this position, participated in the web-based course Enhancing Humane Science/Improving Animal Research.


Current Research

Dr. Gabrielson's research efforts focus on the signal transduction of cardiovascular toxicities in vitro, in cardiomyocyte culture and in vivo, using rodent models. Specifically, the research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of various cancer therapies that induce cardiac toxicities.

Currently, she is testing prevention strategies for these toxicities. She is studying the cardiac effects of the anthracycline doxorubicin (adriamycin) and the immunotherapeutic agent, Herceptin, anti-erbB2. For patients concurrently treated with Herceptin and doxorubicin, the risk of cardiac dysfunction is 28 percent, compared to 7 percent in doxorubicin alone treatment. She is focusing on the signal transduction pathways in the heart that are modulated by anti-erbB2 treatment, which in turn worsens doxorubicin toxicity. Thus, understanding the mechanisms behind the combined toxicity of doxorubicin and anti-erbB2 will pave the way for the design of strategies to reduce toxicity, identify patients at risk and potentially allow higher levels of this effective combination therapy to be used with an improved long-term survival in patients. In another doxorubicin animal model, she is using the neu mouse model that overexpresses neu (erbB2) and thus develops breast cancer, to test several strategies to prevent doxorubicin toxicity.

For evaluating various cardiac protection strategies, in conjunction with molecular studies, she is also using histopathology, clinical pathology and non-invasive echocardiography in both acute and chronic models of doxorubicin toxicity. Tumor growth and regression is also being monitored during treatment. Some of the pharmacological strategies she is testing have also been shown to reduce tumor burden.

To complement the in vivo studies, toxicity assessments and pharmacological strategies are first screened in vitro in neonatal and adult rat cardiomyocyte cell culture. These projects are funded by a Scientist Development Grant award from the National American Heart Association program, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research program and from pilot project funds from the Breast Cancer SPORE and the American Cancer Society.

She is also currently collaborating with multiple investigators within Johns Hopkins University and other universities ranging from cancer research to cardiovascular research.


Selected Publications

  1. Maronpot RR, Nyska A, Troth SP, Gabrielson K, Sysa-Shah P, Kalchenko V, Kuznetsov Y, Harmelin A, Schiffenbauer YS, Bonnel D, Stauber J, Ramot Y. Regulatory Forum Opinion Piece*: Imaging Applications in Toxicologic Pathology-Recommendations for Use in Regulated Nonclinical Toxicity Studies. Toxicol Pathol. 2017 Jun;45(4):444-471.
  2. Zlitni A, Yin M, Janzen N, Chatterjee S, Lisok A, Gabrielson KL, Nimmagadda S, Pomper MG, Foster FS, Valliant JF. Development of prostate specific membrane antigen targeted ultrasound microbubbles using bioorthogonal chemistry. PLoS One. 2017 May 4;12(5):e0176958. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176958. eCollection 2017.
  3. Xie M, Vesuna F, Tantravedi S, Bol GM, Heerma van Voss MR, Nugent K, Malek R, Gabrielson K, van Diest PJ, Tran PT, Raman V. RK-33 Radiosensitizes Prostate Cancer Cells by Blocking the RNA Helicase DDX3. Cancer Res. 2016 Nov 1;76(21):6340-6350. Epub 2016 Sep 12.
  4. Hsiao PY, Kalin JH, Sun IH, Amin MN, Lo YC, Chiang MJ, Giddens J, Sysa-Shah P, Gabrielson K, Wang LX, Powell JD, Cole PA. An Fc-Small Molecule Conjugate for Targeted Inhibition of the Adenosine 2A Receptor. Chembiochem. 2016 Oct 17;17(20):1951-1960. Epub 2016 Aug 26.
  5. Sørensen LL, Bedja D, Sysa-Shah P, Liu H, Maxwell A, Yi X, Pozios I, Olsen NT, Abraham TP, Abraham R, Gabrielson K. Echocardiographic Characterization of a Murine Model of Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy Induced by Cardiac-specific Overexpression of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2. Comp Med. 2016;66(4):268-77.