Bartosz Szczesny, PhD is an associate professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Anesthesiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, Texas. He completed his MSc and PhD at the University of Wroclaw, Poland, and postdoctoral training at UTMB. The focus of his research group is to understand the role of mitochondrial dysfunction, particularly mitochondrial DNA damage and repair, in physiological and pathological conditions. He will be discussing the dual role of mitochondrial DNA that is actively released from injured cells via extracellular vesicles as an important signaling molecule in the induction of inflammatory response, and as a novel marker of cell injury.
He presented recent advances in understanding the novel role of damaged mitochondrial DNA derived from epithelial cells in activation of microglia in the central nervous system/retina and alveolar macrophages in lungs. He also presented recently developed and validated method for fast, inexpensive, and accurate measurement of cell free DNA as a liquid biopsy technology for the early detection and quantitative monitoring of trauma severity. He discussed the presence of cell/organ specific markers within circulating extracellular vesicles containing DNA as a novel biomarker for the assessment of traumatic brain injury. His research is supported by NIH, NSF, and private foundations.