Blood vessel integrity and function is crucial for all organs in a human body as well as for well being of an entire organism. In adults, the vasculature is fully developed and mainly quiescent and its expansion and remodeling occurs primarily upon injury. However, uncontrolled blood vessel growth underlies a number of pathologies, such as cancer, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. We aim to understand how blood vessels function in adulthood and development, how normal and healthy vasculature is preserved and what are the mechanisms controlling vascular growth in adults. We demonstrated that
The major objective of my research program is to fully integrate the mechanistic studies performed at the molecular and cellular levels with complex in vivo models of human diseases to yield a complete understanding of fundamental problems in physiology and pathophysiology. The major research focus of the lab is on the mechanisms governing the pathological and adaptive vasculature development, neoangiogenesis, in adult organisms. This process is crucial for the tissue recovery from ischemia, a response that is triggered in a variety of pathogenic settings including the complications of thrombosis, injury and wound healing, and cancer progression and tumor metastatic spread. At the cellular level, we are interested in endothelial cell biology, the role of inflammatory and other blood cells, including platelets, during neovascularization. To consider neoangiogenesis at a molecular level, my research has emphasized the regulatory functions of extracellular matrix, its cellular receptors, integrins and signaling pathways and the interrelationship between these processes. For our angiogenesis studies, we employ cutting edge animal models, including angiogenesis induced by various tumors, by ischemic conditions in hind limbs, wounds and skin transplants, and by gene transfer of the growth factor of interest. We have established a number of other valuable in vivo models that include wound healing, tumor progression, metastasis and tumor-induced bone remodeling in transgenic/knockout mice, angiogenesis and blood flow analysis, atherosclerosis and thrombosis models.