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Kathleen Caron, PhD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and Professor and Chair of UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Cell Biology and Physiology.

Professor and Chair, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Cell Biology

Area of Interest

Adrenomedullin and its receptors are highly expressed in endothelial cells and are required for the normal development of the cardiovascular system, including the heart, lymphatic vessels and placenta. Using a variety of gene targeted animal models we have characterized a novel role for adrenomedullin and its receptors in the development and function of these cardiovascular organs. Our interests in vascular biology are broad and highly integrative, since we have discovered that the functions of adrenomedullin signaling are largely influenced by other angiogenic and endocrine factors, hypoxia and innate immune responses. We have shown that loss of AM signaling in mice and humans recapitulates numerous pathophysiological sequelae associated with human lymphangiectasia and hydrops fetalis. Since AM and its receptors represent one of the few pharmacologically tractable factors for lymphatic endothelial cells, AM-based therapies may eventually become useful for the treatment of lymphatic-based conditions such as lymphedema or lymphatic tumor metastasis. Therefore, our current studies are geared toward providing novel insights into the role and function of adrenomedullin in the tumor microenvironment with the ultimate goal of elucidating the processes that govern tumor lymphangiogenesis and distal metastasis. The elucidation of these molecular pathways may ultimately form the basis of GPCR-targeted approaches for the therapeutic inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis.

Awards and Honors

  • Excellence in Basic Science Mentoring Award, UNC-CH, 2019
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Scientific Advisory Board, Co-Chair, 2014-present
  • Chair, NIEHS Board of Scientific Counselors (2017-2022)
  • American Heart Association, Established Investigator Award, 2008
  • Jefferson Pilot Fellowship Award in Academic Medicine, 2008
  • Irvine H. Page Young Investigator Research Award, American Heart Association, Finalist, 2008
  • Recipient of Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, 2001
  • American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship- Awarded but declined, 2000
  • NIH Individual National Research Service Award, Postdoctoral Training Fellowship, 1999

Find publications on PubMed