Sculpture lessons: how the zebrafish shapes its vessels
The vasculature delivers nutrients, gases, hormones and immunity factors throughout the body, allowing cells, tissues and organs to thrive. For blood and lymphatic vessels to function properly, endothelial cords must be positioned correctly, form with sufficient abundance, acquire the proper shape and size, transform into functional tubes and adopt cellular and molecular characteristics suited to their organ environments.
Research in the lab currently focuses on these topics:
(1) How do vascular sprouts form with the proper abundance, positioning, and shape?
(2) How is the brain vascularized and how does the Blood Brain Barrier form?
(3) Novel mechanisms of vessel formation
Model systems used in the lab:
To understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in vascular organogenesis we exploit the complementary advantages of the transparent zebrafish embryo and cultured endothelial cells as model systems for vascular development.
Common techniques employed in the lab:
Confocal imaging of transgenic animals carrying endothelial-specific fluorescent reporters, analysis of gene expression, forced gene expression, transgenesis, genome editing, cell transplantation, cell culture, and biochemistry.
Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology
PhD from University of California, Irvine
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