The microvasculature, a complex network of highly specialized blood vessels, is capable of growing and altering its structure and function to regulate blood flow and accommodate the changing metabolic needs of the body's tissues. Microvascular growth and remodeling are important in pathological conditions, such as wound healing, ischemic disease (e.g. peripheral vascular disease and heart disease), and tumor growth. We study microvascular growth and remodeling using novel computational and experimental techniques, including agent-based computational models and thin tissues that enable visualization and manipulation of entire microvascular networks in vivo. We also develop therapeutic approaches to grow and regenerate injured and diseased tissues by manipulating the structure and composition of the microvasculature.
• Understanding the role of arterial- and venous-specific proteins and proteoglycans in modulating microvascular growth and remodeling in response to ischemic injury in healthy vs. diabetic patients.
• Using adult progenitor/stem cells derived from human adipose tissue to engineer functional and sustainable microvascular networks. (Collaboration with Dr. Adam Katz, Dept. of Plastic Surgery)
• Systems-level investigation of inflammatory cell and circulating progenitor cell homing in atherosclerosis using multi-scale computational models and experimental disease models. (Collaboration with Dr. Jason Papin and Dr. Edward Botchwey, BME)
• Controlling dysfunctional angiogenesis in the retinal microvasculature using protein- and stem cell-based approaches, which is relevant to diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. (Collaboration with Dr. Paul Yates, Dept. of Ophthalmology)
• Design, development, validation, and commercialization of novel teaching tools and instrumentation for ear disease diagnosis and treatment. (Collaboration with Dr. Bradley Kesser, Dept. of Otolaryngology and Dr. Meg Keeley, Dept. of Pediatrics)