Tina B. McKay, Ph.D.


Instructor in Investigation
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Mass General Research Institute
Instructor in Anaesthesia
Harvard Medical School
PhD in Cell Biology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
BSc in Chemistry, University of Oklahoma
biomarkers; cell biology; cornea; delirium; neuroscience; proteomics; tissue engineering
Dr. McKay's current research is focused on identifying biomarkers associated with postoperative delirium and cognitive dysfunction. Her long-term research interests are related to investigating the roles of oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, cell-cell signaling, and extracellular matrix deposition in pathologies affecting the eye and brain using cell and tissue culture models. One current project is designed to determine if metabolic and nutritional biomarkers are associated with postoperative delirium following major cardiac surgery.

1) Novel Biomarkers of Postoperative Delirium


Postoperative delirium is common in older patients following major cardiac surgery. However, the reason behind why certain patients are more sensitive to surgical stress and develop postoperative delirium remains poorly understood. To begin addressing these questions, we have performed studies evaluating serum biomarkers associated with delirium in clinical populations. We have identified an increase in FGF-21 and tau protein levels in patients who developed postoperative delirium following cardiac surgery.
  • McKay TB*, Rhee J, Colon K, Adelsberger K, Turco I, Mueller A, Qu J, and Akeju O. Preliminary study of serum biomarkers associated with delirium after major cardiac surgery. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2021 May 12:S1053-0770(21)00372-4. doi:10.1053/j.jvca.2021.05.002. PMCID: PMC8586054. (*Corresponding author)
        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053077021003724?via%3Dihub

  • McKay TB*, Qu J, Liang F, Mueller A, Wiener-Kronish J, Xie Z, Akeju O. Tau as a serum biomarker of delirium after major cardiac surgery. Br J Anaesth. 2022 Apr 21;S0007-0912(22)00183-0. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2022.04.002. PMCID: PMC9428914. (*Corresponding author)
2) Extracellular Vesicles and Cell-Cell Communication

Extracellular vesicles are membrane-bound secreted particles that may be important during corneal wound healing. Sophisticated co-culture models containing different cell types may be useful in delineating some of the features involved in cell-cell communication. 

Figure 1. Confocal image of corneal epithelial cells (left) and transmission electron microscopy image of secreted extracellular vesicles (right). 

(Ref. McKay TB, et al. Cells. 2020 Apr 26;9(5). doi:10.3390/cells9051080).
https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/9/5/1080


3) Development of 3D Cell Culture Models to Study Health and Disease

Applying a reductionist approach, advanced cell culture models have been developed to study differential cellular responses using integration of different cell populations in a single construct. An example is a co-culture model of corneal epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts that may be used to evaluate effects on extracellular matrix deposition and extracellular vesicle release and uptake during wound healing responses. Many of the methods regarding corneal cell isolation and 3D in vitro model development were first introduced by the Zieske lab.


Figure 2. Confocal image of a 3D co-culture of corneal epithelial cells with corneal stromal fiboblasts. 
(Ref. McKay TB, et al. Bioengineering (Basel). 2019 Dec 4;6(4):110. doi:10.3390/bioengineering6040110).
https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5354/6/4/110

Other relevant references:
  • McKay TB*, Guo X, Hutcheon AEK, Karamichos D, Ciolino JB. Methods for investigating corneal cell interactions and extracllular vesicles in vitro. Curr Protoc Cell Biol. 2020 Dec;89(1):e114. doi: 10.1002/cpcb.114. PMCID: PMC7596691. (*Corresponding author)
  • McKay TB*, Hutcheon AEK, Zieske JD. Biology of corneal fibrosis: soluble mediators, integrins, and extracellular vesicles. Eye (Lond). 2020 Feb;34(2):271-278. doi: 10.1038/s41433-019-0736-0. PMCID: PMC7002485. (*Corresponding author)
Publications
tmckay@mgh.harvard.edu
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine

55 Fruit St
Boston, MA 02114