Lisa A. Stehno-Bittel, PT, PhD

Department Chair
KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

Professional Background
Lisa Stehno-Bittel, PT, PhD, is chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. In addition to teaching in the DPT and post-professional DPT programs, she is also a professor of anatomy and cell biology at KU Medical Center. She is a course director of differential diagnosis, case studies in pathophysiology, medical imaging, and pharmacology for physical therapists. Stehno-Bittel provides numerous guest lectures in other graduate programs within and outside of the department and is the scientific director of the Great Plains Diabetes Coalition and a director of the Diabetes Research Laboratory.

Academic Background
Stehno-Bittel began her academic career at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. She then advanced her education at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., where she obtained a PhD in Physiology. After her post-doctoral work in Pharmacology at the Mayo School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., Stehno-Bittel returned to the KU Medical Center to join the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science as a faculty member. In 2004 she was named chair of the department.

Research Focus
Stehno-Bittel’s commitment to curing diabetes is a two-fold venture: In the laboratory, she is exploring the restoration of normal glycemic conditions through pancreatic islet transplantation, and the creation of bio-artificial pancreatic islets. Stehno-Bittel is also conducting community-based research aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes and improving the lives of those individuals already dealing with the affliction.

Curriculum Vitae PDF document

Lab Group Site

Diabetes Research Laboratory

Scientists have combined a variety of expertise, such as physiology, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry and animal behavior to unlock the secrets of diabetes.

Selected Current and Past Grants

Lisa Stehno-Bittel (Co-I)
Impact of Exercise on Parkinson's Disease Therapy
The purpose of the grant is to determine the impact of endurance aerobic exercise on the drug efficacy on a chronic mouse model of Parkinsons Disease. Neurological changes in response to exercise are being monitored as well as behavioral and functional improvements. We are completing EMG studies characterizing the tone in the PD model, as well as microscopy analysis of changes in the brain.

Lisa Stehno-Bittel (Mentor)
Diabetes SMC changes reversed by islet transplants
This grant explores the ability of islet transplants to reverse the smooth muscle cell pathology associated with type 1 diabetes. Specifically, we are examining the change in calcium regulatory protein and in proteins responsible for proliferation of smooth muscle cells.

Lisa Stehno-Bittel (Co-I)
Mechanism and Therapy of SHIV Encephalitis in Macaques
This grant will explore the role of PDGF in virus replication in macaque macrophage cultures and will also assess the role of IP-10 in neuronal dysfunction/death associated with SHIV-encephalitis. Delivery of liposomes carrying antisense DNA plasmids will be first optimized in macaque macrophage cell cultures followed by delivery and biodistribution in small animals such as rats. These studies will then form the basis for antisense delivery in infected macaques to interdict the disease process.

Lisa Stehno-Bittel (PI)
Subcutaneous Islet Transplants for Type 1 Diabetes
This project is based on previous observations that smaller islets are superior to large ones for transplantation into the liver and kidney capsule. The goals of the project are to utilize small islets (< 125 mm) to attempt subcutaneous transplants in rats with type 1 diabetes.
Rosebud Diabetes Research Foundation

Lisa Stehno-Bittel (Co-I)
Islet Transplantation for Type 1 Diabetes
This collaborative initiative investigates the different mechanisms for islet isolation in producing successful islet transplants and in looking for the long-term effects of the islet transplants. Our role in this project is to identify genetic and functional markers in islet cells that correlate with successful transplants.
Hall Foundation

Last modified: Jun 27, 2013

Lisa A. Stehno-Bittel


Lisa A. Stehno-Bittel, PT, PhD
Department Chair

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