Our research focuses on identifying mechanisms that regulate blood vessel formation and function. The aim is to find new ways of interfering with these processes to treat human disease. To this end, we combine developmental studies with models of human disease and apply the most recent technologies in molecular medicine.
Brain Metabolism and Neurodegeneration
Our research is focusing on energy substrate transport across the blood vessel wall and the contribution of organotypic endothelium for end-organ metabolism. In brain, we specifically hypothesize that cerebrovascular changes associated with an underlying metabolic dysfunction will act additively or synergistically to accelerate neuropathological development and cognitive decline.
VEGF-B in Diabetes
Blood vessels are part of almost all tissues of the body. A fundamental question is how blood vessels are formed and how blood vessels of different parts of the body specializes and integrate in the function of the different tissues.. Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels is a complex process that involves many genes and specific processes. A molecular delineation and understanding of these processes is a central theme in the research at the Division.
VEGF-B in CNS Diseases
Our research focuses to understand cellular and molecular signaling events occurring in the neurovascular unit (NVU) (Figure 1) during neurologic disorders, including stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. We hypothesize that cerebrovascular remodeling and changes in blood brain barrier (BBB) integrity contributes to disease progression. We propose that targeting biological processes in the NVU, and ultimately restoration of barrier integrity, has the potential to significantly improve outcome of neurologic disease.
tPA/PDGF-C in Stroke
To achieve these goals we use experimental in vivo models of neurologic disease, primarily a photothrombotic model of ischemic stroke, state-of-the-art imaging and genomics methods, and specific unique blocking agents and genetic tools. Further we investigate the transcriptional profiles of the cells in the NVU from normal and disease mouse brains using cerebrovascular isolation and in situ technologies. This molecular systems approach will provide essential mechanistic data necessary to test our hypothesis.