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John E. Baatz PhD

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  • Professor
  • College of Medicine
  • Pediatrics
Academic Focus
  • Neonatal lung development
  • Oxygen homeostasis and lung disease; Effects of oxygen on lung development
  • Lung cryopreservation
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Education & Training:
University of Cincinnati, 1983, B.S. in Chemistry
University of Cincinnati, 1988, Ph.D. in Biochemistry
Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Postdoctoral Fellow 1990

Research Interests:

 The Baatz laboratory endeavors are focused on three primary areas:

1) functional and structural analysis of lipid-associated proteins, including lung surfactant proteins and proteins in mother’s milk;

2) oxygen-sensing and metabolic pathways in primary alveolar Type II epithelial cells (AECs) from healthy and diseased lungs, and

3) bioengineered scaffolds for culture of isolated primary cells in single or multi-cell type culture to mimic regeneration of lung tissue. Dr. Baatz’ group has developed a human tissue cryopreservation method that has been applied to multiple tissues including lung, bone, prostate and placenta.

This protocol yields viable tissue and viable primary cells post thaw, thus providing the ability to perform batch experiments on primary cells or tissues at a single time, from tissue samples obtained from multiple human donors over broad range of time. Tissues can be stored for over six years without loss in yield of viable primary cells such as AECs, endothelial cells, pericytes and fibroblasts. Using this unique method, the laboratory has been able to obtain significant and substantive data that identifies defect(s) in lactate metabolism in AECs from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) as being a potential cause of IPF progression. The Baatz laboratory is also highly collaborative with Drs. Carol Wagner and Katie Chetta in providing expertise in proteomics and lipid biochemistry relevant to the composition of compartments of human milk and how they influence gut maturation in newborn babies.     

Highlight Publications:

  1. Chetta KE, Newton DA, Wagner CL, Baatz JE. Free Fatty Acid and α-Lactalbumin-Oleic Acid Complexes in Preterm Human Milk Are Cytotoxic to Fetal Intestinal Cells in vitro. (2022). Frontiers Nutrition, Jul 5;9:918872. PMID: 35866080. 
  2. Newton, DA, Baatz, JE, Chetta, KE, Walker, PW, Washington, RO, Shary, JR, & Wagner, CL (2022). Maternal Vitamin D Status Correlates to Leukocyte Antigenic Responses in Breastfeeding Infants. Nutrients, 14(6), Article 6.
  3. Newton DA, Baatz JE, Kindy MS, Gattoni-Celli S, Shary JR, Hollis BW, Wagner CL. Vitamin D binding protein polymorphisms significantly impact vitamin D status in children. Pediatric Research. 2019 Nov;86(5):662-669. PMID: 30712059.
  4. Lottes RG, Newton DA, Spyropoulos DD, Baatz JE. Lactate as substrate for mitochondrial respiration in alveolar epithelial type II cells. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015; 308(9):L953-61.
  5. Lottes RG, Newton DA, Spyropoulos DD, Baatz JE. Alveolar type II cells maintain bioenergetic homeostasis in hypoxia through metabolic and molecular adaptation. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2014;306(10):L947-955.
  6. Baatz JE, Newton DA, Riemer EC, Denlinger CE, Jones EE, Drake RR, Spyropoulos DD. Cryopreservation of viable human lung tissue for versatile post-thaw analyses and culture. In Vivo 2014;28(4):411-423.