Kathleen Gabrielson, D.V.M., Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology

Research Interests

Cardiovascular disease; Cancer; Pathology; Toxicology; Signal transduction; Cancer therapy ...read more


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. 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.”

...read more


  • Associate Professor of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology
  • Associate Professor of Oncology
  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions

  • Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology
  • Oncology - Cancer Invasion and Metastasis
  • Pathology

Centers & Institutes



  • D.V.M.; North Carolina State University (North Carolina) (1989)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

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.

Technology Expertise Keywords

Toxicology; Pathology; Cancer; Cardiovascular Disease

Selected Publications

Wachtman, L, Bedja, D, Pin, S, Browning, M, Gabrielson, K. “Validation of the use of long-term indwelling jugular catheters in model of cardiotoxicity”, Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science, in press

Magno P, Giday SA, Gabrielson KL, Eun JS, Buscaglia J, Clarke JO, Ko C Jagannath SB, Canto MI, Kalloo AN, Kantsevoy, SV., “Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)-Guided Implantation of Radio-Opaque Marker into Mediastinal and Celiac Lymph Nodes is Safe and Effective”, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, in press

Cooper TK, Gabrielson KL., “Spontaneous Lesions in the Reproductive Tract and Mammary Gland of Female Non-Human Primates”, Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology, in press

Lee SJ, Orita H, Gabrielson KL, Alvey S, Hagemann RL, Kuhajda FP, Gabrielson E, Pomper M., “FDG-PET for Pharmacodynamic Assessment of the Fatty Acid Synthase Inhibitor C75 in an Experimental Model of Lung Cancer”, Pharmacological Research, in press

Ruben D, Muratore N, Pin S, Gabrielson KL. “Effects of Bedding Substrates on Microsomal Enzymes in Rabbit Liver”, Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, in press

Contact for Research Inquiries

Email me Phone: 443-287-2953

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