Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, 1993
B.Sc., Hons.
Medical Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, UK, 1975

Areas of Interests

Research Interests

Mitochondrial lipid metabolism, autophagy and cell death.

Research Information

My training was in biophysics and biochemistry, particularly in the fields of lipid and protein chemistry. I also have a broad background in lipoprotein and cardiac metabolism. In recent years I have been interested in cell death, particularly in the role of the mitochondrion in regulating cell death. This interest emanated from our observations that the saturated fatty acid palmitate can induce apoptosis in the cardiac myocyte and other cells. This apoptosis was associated with mitochondrial loss of cytochrome c, a decrease in mitochondrial levels of the mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin and induction of downstream caspase cascades. Other studies in my laboratory have sought to establish the role of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in inducing shock in the heart. These studies have also focused on the role of mitochondrion. To date our studies have determined that LPS stimulates mitochondrial damage by increasing the production of reactive oxygen species leading to an increase in removal of mitochondria by the cell autophagic pathways (mitophagy). Interestingly, chemical inhibition of mitophagy leads to increased apoptosis and cell death. Studies have focused on the heart and cardiac myocytes. Evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction is an initiating factor in many diseases, including those of the nervous system, particularly Parkinson’s Disease (PD). We have established an inflammatory animal model that exhibits many of the signs of PD and studies continue on the role of inflammation in neurodegeneration.


Publication Information


  • Marie-Francoise Doursout, Michael S. Schurdell, Lauren M. Young, Uzondu Osuagwu, Diana M. Hook, Brian J. Poindexter, Mya C. Schiess, Diane L. M. Bick & Roger J. Bick. Inflammatory cells and cytokines in the Olfactory Bulb of a rat model of neuroinflammation; Insights into neurodegeneration? (2013) Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research 33 (7) 376-383. Epublished May 2013.
  • Doursout MF, Schiess MC, Schurdell MS, Osuagwu U, Hook DM, Poindexter BJ, Hickson-Bick DLM, Bick RJ. Specific localizations of cytokines and Parkinson’s disease-associated proteins revealed by fluorescence deconvolution microscopy in brain tissues of an LPS treated rat model. (2012) Current Trends in Neurology 6:39-49
  • Mulligan CM, Sparagna GC, De Mooy AB, Routh MA, Holmes MG, Hickson-Bick DL,  Zarini S, Murphy RC, Xi FY, Hatch GM, McCune SA, Moore RL, Chicco AJ. (2012)Dietary Linoleate preserves cardiolipin and attenuates mitochondrial dysfunction in the failing rat hard.  Cardiovasc Res 94; 460-8
  • Harjot K. Saini-Chohan, Michael G. Holmes, Adam J. Chicco, William A. Taylor, Russell L. Moore, Sylvia A. McCune, Diane L. Hickson-Bick, Grant M. Hatch and Genevieve C. Sparagna (2009). Cardiolipin biosynthesis and remodeling are altered during the development of heart failure. Journal of Lipid Research 50; 1600-8
  • Saini-Chohan HK, Holmes MG, Chicco AJ, Taylor WA, Moore RL, McCune SA, Hickson-Bick DL, Hatch GM, Sparagna GC. Cardiolipin biosynthesis and remodeling enzymes are altered during development of heart failure. J Lipid Res. 2009 Aug;50(8):1600-8.
  • Hickson-Bick DL, Jones C, Buja LM. Stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy by lipopolysaccharide in the neonatal rat cardiomyocyte protects against programmed cell death. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2008 Feb;44(2):411-8.
  • Roger J. Bick, Brian J. Poindexter, Marylee M. Kott, Yang an Liang, Kha Dinh, Diane L.M. Bick, Marie-Francois Doursout and Mya C. Schiess. (2008) Cytokines disrupt intracellular patterns of Parkinson’s disease associated proteins alpha-synuclein, tau and ubiquitin in cultured glial cells., Brain Research 1217; 203-212.
  • Durgan DJ, Moore MW, Ha NP, Egbejimi O, Fields A, Mbawuike U, Egbejimi A, Shaw CA, Bray MS, Nannegari V, Hickson-Bick DL, Heird WC, Dyck JR, Chandler MP, Young ME. Circadian rhythms in myocardial metabolism and contractile function: influence of workload and oleate. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Oct;293(4):H2385-93.
  • Hickson-Bick DL, Jones C, Buja LM. The response of neonatal rat ventricular myocytes to lipopolysaccharide-induced stress. Shock. 2006 May;25(5):546-52.
  • Sparagna GC, Jones CE, Hickson-Bick DL. Attenuation of fatty acid-induced apoptosis by low-dose alcohol in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2004 Nov;287(5):H2209-15.
  • Hickson-Bick DL, Sparagna GC, Buja LM, McMillin JB. Palmitate-induced apoptosis in neonatal cardiomyocytes is not dependent on the generation of ROS. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Feb;282(2):H656-64.

Additional Information

Academic Positions Held

1975-1978:            Instructor in Biochemistry, St. Thomas’ Hospital Medical School, London, England.

1978-1988:            Research Assistant, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX.

1989-1996:            Senior Research Associate, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

May -Aug 1996:    Senior Research Associate, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UTHSC at Houston.

Sept 1996-2003:    Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UTHSC at Houston.

2004-2007:            Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UTHSC at Houston.

2007- 2013            Tenured, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UTHSC at Houston.

2013- Current        Professor (tenured) of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UTHealth, Houston


UTHSC Medical School Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award:           1998-2014

UTHSC Faculty Honors Convocation: Research Acknowledgement