Sir John Vane Grant for Best Publication in Pulmonary Vascular Research 2016

Alice Huertas Presented to: Dr Alice Huertas, for her publication "Leptin signalling system as a target for pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy", published in April 2015 in the ERJ.

Dr Alice Huertas graduated from medical school at La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy in 2002. She completed her residency in internal medicine in 2007, studying circulating endothelial progenitor cells in chronic lung diseases, under the supervision of Professor Paolo Palange.

Dr Huertas joined Professor Marc Humbert's lab in January 2010 after three years at Columbia University (New York, USA) in Professor Jahar Bhattacharya's lab as a postdoctoral research scientist. Alice focused on the inflammatory effects of hypoxia on lung endothelial cells and showed that erythrocyte-derived reactive oxygen species induce an endothelial pro-inflammatory phenotype in acute hypoxia in the lungs (Huertas A. et al. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2013).

After obtaining her PhD at Paris-Sud University, Alice joined Dr Christophe Guignabert's team in Marc Humbert's lab as a postdoctoral scientist, and is currently investigating the crosstalk between endothelial dysfunction and pulmonary vascular remodelling in PAH with a particular interest in the role of leptin, in patients as well as in experimental models.

Alice Huertas recently demonstrated a new mechanism in PAH pathogenesis, namely the abnormal over activation of leptin signalling system in the pulmonary vascular wall, contributing to pulmonary hypertension susceptibility and progression. In addition, Alice showed that inhibition of the leptin signalling system represents a relevant treatment strategy to reverse pulmonary vascular remodelling in PAH targeting pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation (Huertas A. et al. Eur Respir J 2015).

Dr Huertas is also practicing as a physician at the Day Hospital of the National Reference Centre for Pulmonary Hypertension, Department of Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine, Bicêtre Hospital.