Assistant Professor of Medicine

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Medicine
1530 3rd Avenue So, THT-422
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294

Contact Information

Campus Address:

 THT 422

Academic Office location:

 BMR2 404

Office Phone:

 (205) 975-1997

Office Fax (Academic):

 (205) 975-3043

Email Address:

Lab Manager:  

Naomi Logsdon                                 
Ph: (205) 996-2078
Fax: (205) 975-3043

Brief Bio

Dr. Hecker’s research training and career has centered on regenerative biology. She earned a B.A. (biology) from Hartwick College and M.A. (Ecology Evolution and Behavior) from Binghamton University, while publishing work on regeneration in lower vertebrates. She received her M.S. (Cell and Developmental Biology) and Ph.D. (Applied Physics) from the University of Michigan, where her work focused on bioengineering functional muscle tissues. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, where her research interests evolved to investigating mechanisms of tissue repair. Dr. Hecker and colleagues have identified a novel drug target, NOX4, which plays a critical role in the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis).  Dr. Hecker is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine.


Research Interests

Dr. Hecker is interested in understanding age-dependent changes in lung injury-repair responses in order to identify novel pathways involved in the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).  Her ongoing research also involves drug discovery for NOX4, and preclinical testing of novel therapies aimed to treat IPF.

Key Publications

1.    Hecker, L, Cheng, J., and Thannickal VJ.  Targeting NOX Enzymes in Pulmonary Fibrosis. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 2012. 69: 2365-2371.

2.    Hecker, L, Jagirdar R., Jin TJ, Thannickal VJ. Reversible Differentiation of Myofibroblasts by MyoD. Exp Cell Res.  2011. 317:1914-1921.  

3.    Ding, Q, Luckhardt, T, Hecker, L, Zhou, Y, Liu, G, Antony, V, deAndrade, J and Thannickal, VJ. New Insights into the Pathogenesis and Treatment of IPF: An Update. Drugs. 2011. 71:981-1001. 

4.    Hecker, L and Thannickal VJ. Nonresolving Fibrotic Disorders: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis as a Paradigm of Impaired Tissue Regeneration. Am J. Med. Sci. 2011.  341:431-434. 

5.    Hecker L, Vittal R, Jones T, Jagirdar R, Luckhardt TR, Horowitz JC, Pennathur S, Martinez FJ, Thannickal VJ. NADPH oxidase-4 mediates myofibroblast activation and fibrogenic responses to lung injury. Nat Med 2009;15:1077-82.

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