Rebecca Marlene Baron, MD
Photo: Rebecca M. Baron



Elected 2018

Dr. Baron is a pulmonary-critical care physician interested in mechanisms underlying sepsis and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Her laboratory carries out translational studies in critical illness with the goal of using clinically relevant cell culture and animal models to probe the relevance of biologic pathways in human disease. Studies in the Baron laboratory focus on two main areas: (1) Cell culture and murine models of inflammation and mechanotransduction – Using cell stretch in vitro and preclinical models of sepsis-induced lung injury (including cecal ligation and puncture and ventilator induced injury in rodents), the lab explores pathways mediating inflammation, nitric oxide production, and surfactant dysfunction with a particular focus on deciphering the role of excessive cell stretch in perpetuation of lung injury; and (2) Human biomarker studies in critical illness – Using an assembled biorepository of over 600 subjects with critical illness, the lab explores the relevance of biologic pathways elicited from cell and animal studies toward human disease, including pathways mediated by zinc, the inflammasome, mitochondrial DNA release, microRNA 181b, lipid mediators, and metabolome proteins that have pointed toward novel "functional" biomarkers and therapeutic targets for sepsis and ARDS. In addition, Dr. Baron’s laboratory plays an important role in carrying out human clinical trials in critical illness with a focus on testing novel therapeutics in early stage studies, as well as in serving as a training environment for internal medicine residents pursuing residency research projects. Dr. Baron has been interested in fostering the careers of physician-scientists, with a particular focus on developing opportunities for residents to pursue investigative interests during their training.