Lab Members

Michelle Baack, MD
Principal Investigator

Dr. Baack obtained her B.S. in Pharmacy from South Dakota State University (SDSU) in 1991, her M.D. from the University of South Dakota-School of Medicine (USD) in 1995, and her Pediatric Residency Training from the University of Nebraska Medical Center-Creighton Joint Pediatric Residency Program in 1999. She practiced as a general pediatrician in rural South Dakota for ten years and later returned to academics to obtain her Fellowship in Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine at the University of Iowa in 2008. She completed her Neonatology training in 2011 and joined Sanford as a physician – scientist. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine. She is a clinical neonatologist at Sanford Children’s Hospital, an Assistant Professor through the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota and a Principal Investigator at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota and a Principal Investigator in Sanford Research’s Environmental Influences on Health and Disease Group in Sioux Falls, SD. Her primary research interests include:

 Her primary research interests include:

  • The Role of Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Growth, Development and Health of Premature Infants: Narrowing the Gap through Improved Nutritional Provision
  • Diabetes Induced Alterations in Placental Fatty Acid Transport
  • Understanding the Role of Fatty Acids in Fetal Origins of Disease in Offspring of Diabetic and Obese Mothers
  • Developmental Programming of Cardiac Fuel Metabolism

Tricia Larsen, BSCTricia Larsen, BSC
Senior Research Associate

Tricia comes to the Baack lab with more than a decade of experience at the bench. She received her Bachelor of Science from South Dakota State University (SDSU) in 2001. She then went on to analyze patient data at Myriad Genetics Laboratories assisting in the diagnosis and risk assessment for breast, ovarian, colon, skin and other cancers.

Thereafter, Tricia performed research in the Harmon/Perryman lab at Sanford Research studying the effects of muscular dystrophy on the heart. Her experience and skill in the lab bring new analytical methods necessary to study the molecular basis of our translational model. In addition to her excellent technical skills, Tricia develops and validates protocols, manages all lab experiments (animal work, echocardiography, primary cell culture, protein/gene analyses, ELISA, Milliplex assays, histopathology and gas chromatography) and assist in teaching students. 

Lothar Lauterboeck, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow: 2017-Present

Dr. Lauterboeck received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and his Master’s degree in Biomedicine and Biotechnology in Vienna, Austria. He received his PhD in Regenerative Medicine at the Cluster of Excellence REBIRTH center, Hannover Medical School, Germany. He joined the Baack Lab in 2017 to use human umbilical cord Mesenchymal Stem Cell (huMSC) derived cardiac progenitors to help us understand how exposure to diabetes or obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of developmentally programmed heart disease.

Angela Wachal, MS, MEdAngela Wachal, M.S.
Research Associate; 2012-Present

In 2009, Angela obtained a Master of Education degree from the University of Sioux Falls. Prior to that, she conducted physiology research at Minnesota State University, Mankato from which she graduated with a Master of Science degree in 2007.

Angela came to the Baack lab in May of 2012 as a Sanford Educator Research Fellow (SERF) from Harrisburg High School. She was such an asset to the lab that she has been asked to continue her role in our basic science research part-time. During the school year, she teaches physical science, anatomy and physiology courses for grades 9-12 and serves as the HOSA advisor for the Harrisburg School District.

As a part of the Baack Laboratory, she analyzes echocardiograms and cardiac histopathology. Her excellent work has been recognized with local Outstanding Presentation Awards and in many presentations and publications.

Eli Louwagie Eli Louwagie; 2014-Present
Undergraduate Student, Augustana University
MD/PhD student SSOM-USD

Eli joined the Baack Lab in 2014 through the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) as an undergraduate student studying Biology and Chemistry at Augustana College. With ongoing support from an NSF-EPSCOR grant, Eli continued his work in the lab to understand how diabetes and a maternal high-fat diet during pregnancy could alter placental fatty acid transport and processing. His important work is nationally recognized. Specifically, Eli received the 2015 Society for Pediatric Research Undergraduate Research Award for his work entitled Placental Fatty Acid Transport in Response to Maternal High-Fat Diet and Diabetes, which was presented orally at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting in San Diego, CA. He has presented many local, regional and national presentations and is a co-author on a publication in the Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol (2016). Eli was accepted into the combined MD-PhD program at the University of South Dakota – Sanford School of Medicine (USD-SSOM) in 2017. He hopes to pursue a career in Reproductive Endocrinology.

Julie Eclov, MD, PhD

Dr. Eclov isolated neonatal rat cardiomyocytes and characterized fuel preference and mitochondrial complex function in permeabilized cardiomyocytes using Extracellular Flux Analyses. She aims to attend Pediatric Residency and use her dual-degree as a physician-scientist in the future.



Contributing Members Archive