Cancer Cell Biology
Area of interest
We are interested in the molecular controls that govern blood vessel formation. We study how blood vessels are formed during mouse development because it is fascinating, and because many molecular processes used during embryonic blood vessel formation are reused when blood vessels are formed inappropriately by a solid tumor. Tumor angiogenesis is one important factor in the growth and spread of cancer as well as one that is increasingly a target of new cancer therapies.
We also study the process of vascular pattern formation, in other words how the blood vessels know where to form. This is a critical parameter of both embryonic and tumor-driven blood vessel formation that is just now amenable to dissection experimentally. We have developed a unique mouse-avian chimeric embryo model to study patterning, since the process is not properly reproduced during stem cell differentiation.
Awards and Honors
- Charter Member, NIH Pathology A Study Section
- Member, American Heart Association Cardiovascular Study Section, Mid-Atlantic
- Councilor, North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO) [elected position]
- Invited Speaker, Gordon Research Conference on Angiogenesis and Microcirculation, 2003
- We identified a neural tube derived vascular patterning signal in 2004 using novel mouse-avian chimera and explant analysis – this finding helps understand how vessels migrate, which is important for tumor angiogenesis
- We showed that the VEGF receptor flt-1 negatively modulates cell division but positively modulates vascular sprout formation using fixed point and dynamic image analysis in 2004- this finding shows the complex role of VEGF signaling in blood vessel formation, and indicates that therapeutic targets must be chosen wisely