Skip to main content English


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)

  • Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory
    Head: Barbara Messner
    Research Area: Research focuses on the prevention of diseases in the sense of primary prevention, preventing the recurrence of diseases (secondary prevention), improving the treatment of diseases and understanding the cell biological and molecular mechanisms underlying the diseases - with the aim of being able to use this knowledge to improve the treatment of patients.

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: