Cell death, signal transduction, extracellular matrix, inflammation, vascular disease
5137 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705
Physiology; Transcriptional Mechanisms
The primary focus of my research is investigation of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying vascular diseases (restenosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm). Functions of vascular endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells as well as extracellular matrix proteins are essential to the health and disease of blood vessels. My laboratory combines in vitro molecular and biochemical approaches with transgenic, gene knockout, adenoviral and surgical technologies to unravel the molecular pathways that control cellular functions including proliferation, adhesion, migration, and cell death (apoptosis and necroptosis). We are also interested in cell-cell communication. For example, we study how cell death of smooth muscle cells influences other processes such as recruitment of endothelial progenitors or inflammatory cells into injured or disease arteries. Such studies have led to identification of new players in the signaling networks that balance cell survival, apoptosis and necroptosis. Another research area is the role of extracellular matrix in aging and disease. This project is based on a hypothesis that stiffened matrix in aged arteries creates a microenvironment promoting M1 macrophage polarization.