Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine, CCLCM-CWRU
Location: Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Our research aims to reveal the complex molecular logic responsible for vascularization and barrier integrity in the central nervous system.
Ryota Matsuoka, PhD is Assistant Professor of Molecular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Matsuoka completed his PhD studies in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He then pursued his postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco and Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Germany. After completing these training, Dr. Matsuoka established his independent laboratory at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute in 2018.
BS (Pharmacology): Tohoku University, Japan
PhD (Neuroscience): The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Postdoctoral: University of California, San Francisco and Max Planck Institute
Molecular Genetics of CNS Blood and Lymphatic Vascular Specializations and Brain Barrier Development
A research goal in my laboratory is to elucidate the complex genetic mechanisms that build the mature central nervous system (CNS). During animal development, organ growth is intimately coordinated with the establishment of supporting vessel networks, the blood and lymphatic vasculature. Each organ establishes unique patterns/properties of blood and lymphatic vascular networks that are essential for organ-specific function. Our research aims to uncover key determinants of organ-specific blood and lymphatic vascular specializations with a focus on the CNS.
Structural and functional heterogeneity of brain vasculature has been recognized for over a century and is known to be important for mediating brain region-specific neural function. However, it still remains unknown how this vessel heterogeneity emerges. We employ zebrafish as a model organism and combine modern genetics with high-resolution 3D imaging to address how vascular phenotypic heterogeneity arises in distinct regions of the CNS, using the choroid plexus, hypothalamus-pituitary, pineal gland, retina, spinal cord, and meninges as vertebrate model systems. Our current investigations focus on examining two major types of brain endothelial cells: those that form the semi-permeable blood-brain barrier and those that develop permeable fenestrae. Our future studies aim to identify a spectrum of genes involved in vascular endothelial cell identities and heterogeneity in the CNS.
Numerous neurological diseases involve blood and lymphatic vascular abnormalities, and abrogated vascular properties can exacerbate neuroinflammation and subsequently neurodegeneration associated with aging and diseases. We expect that a better understanding of molecular pathways involved in CNS blood and lymphatic vascular health and disease would help prevent or treat neural and vascular abnormalities following injury/disease. Therefore, our ultimate goal is to translate our research activities into therapeutic strategies that would enable CNS region-specific and vessel type-selective vascular therapies for the treatment of devastating neurological diseases.
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