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Barbara Messner
Assoc.-Prof. Priv.-Doz. Mag. Barbara Messner, PhDSenior PI; Head of the Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory

Department of Cardiac Surgery
Position: Associate Professor

ORCID: 0000-0001-8331-6497

Further Information


Aortic Aneurysm; Cardiovascular Diseases; Myocardial Infarction; Tissue Engineering

Research group(s)

Research interests

Our main research focus is to understand – and based on this understanding to prevent and treat different Cardiovascular Diseases as for example the development of ascending aortic aneurysms. The approach chosen is a multi-disciplinary and application-oriented research strategy. The team seeks to establish and strengthen a network to achieve its research goals. Cooperations with analytical and synthetic chemistry groups, pharmacological groups, bio-medical research laboratories, and in vivo analyses are central to most projects. The know-how and methods of the team range from molecular biology, via cell biology, animal experimentation and histological analyses to human studies.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

  • Cell culture and isolation of primary cells from vascular tissues
  • Western Blot
  • Flow cytometry
  • Immunohistochemistry/Immunofluorescence stainings
  • Functional cell assays


  • New analysis approach to uncover the pathogenesis of ascending aortic aneurysms: comparison of protein expression patterns of isolated smooth muscle cells (2016)
    Source of Funding: B. Braun-Stiftung, Medizinische Wissenschaften
    Principal Investigator
  • Prevention and Treatment of Early Atherosclerosis: In Vitro Based Search for New Drugs (2011)
    Source of Funding: OeNB (Oesterreichische Nationalbank), Anniversary Funds
    Principal Investigator

Selected publications

  1. Scharinger, B. et al., 2016. Leoligin, the major lignan from Edelweiss, inhibits 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase and reduces cholesterol levels in ApoE −/− mice. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 99, pp.35–46. Available at:
  2. Messner, B. et al., 2015. Cadmium overkill: autophagy, apoptosis and necrosis signalling in endothelial cells exposed to cadmium. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 73(8), pp.1699-1713. Available at:
  3. Türkcan, A. et al., 2015. Combination of Cadmium and High Cholesterol Levels as a Risk Factor for Heart Fibrosis. Toxicological Sciences, 145(2), pp.360-371. Available at:
  4. Messner, B. et al., 2012. Apoptosis and necrosis: two different outcomes of cigarette smoke condensate-induced endothelial cell death. Cell Death and Disease, 3(11), p.e424. Available at:
  5. Messner, B. et al., 2009. Cadmium Is a Novel and Independent Risk Factor for Early Atherosclerosis Mechanisms and In Vivo Relevance. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 29(9), pp.1392-1398. Available at: