Expert Details

Expert in Building Vascular Networks, Vascular Tumors, Endothelial Plasticity in Heart Valves

Expert ID: 730062 Massachusetts, USA

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Expert's expertise is centered on angiogenesis and endothelial cells – the cells that comprise the endothelium of blood vessels and the heart, and how these cells become disrupted in disease. Her laboratory is also investigating how to use normal healthy endothelial and mesenchymal cells to build new vascular networks for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Specific areas described below:

Area I: Cellular and molecular basis of hemangioma – a vascular tumor of infancy and other types of vascular anomalies.

Hemangioma is a tumor of endothelial cells that occurs in infants. These tumors can grow rapidly, cause organ damage and disfigurement and even threaten life. Expert's laboratory is elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive this uncontrolled growth. She has identified a hemangioma stem cell that forms all of the major cellular constituents of this vascular tumor – endothelial cells, pericytes and adipocytes. Her ultimate goal is to translate our basic research on hemangioma-derived stem cells and endothelial cells to develop safe fast-acting therapies that will stop hemangiomas from growing to a life-threatening or endangering size.

Area II: Using Blood-derived Endothelial Progenitors for Tissue Vascularization

Expert's goal is to build new vascular networks from human endothelial and mesenchymal progenitor cells to re-build damaged tissues and organs. She has shown that such cells can be obtained from human peripheral blood or bone marrow, expanded in the laboratory without difficulty, and used to build functional blood vessels in vivo in murine models. In the future, she envisions the use of a patient’s own endothelial and mesenchymal progenitor cells to build vascular networks for tissue-engineering applications and for in situ regeneration of vascular networks in ischemic tissue.

Area III: Plasticity of Cardiac Valvular Endothelium

Expert's laboratory has studied growth and differentiation of normal cardiac valvular endothelial cells for several years. Their studies have shown that valvular endothelial cells from adult valve cusps or leaflets can recapitulate processes that occur during valve development. These pathways involve transforming growth factor-ß and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling. Their recently published study indicates that the valvular endothelium harbors progenitor cells with endothelial/mesenchymal plasticity. They are studying this role of this inherent plasticity in the context of heart valve disease.

Expert may consult nationally and internationally, and is also local to the following cities: Boston, Massachusetts - Worcester, Massachusetts - Springfield, Massachusetts - Lowell, Massachusetts - Cambridge, Massachusetts - Brockton, Massachusetts - New Bedford, Massachusetts - Hartford, Connecticut - Manchester, New Hampshire - Providence, Rhode Island

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Year Degree Subject Institution
Year: 1985 Degree: Ph.D. Subject: biochemistry and molecular biology Institution: Washington University School of Medicine
Year: 1980 Degree: A.B. Subject: Chemistry Institution: Duke University

Work History

Years Employer Title Department Responsibilities
Years: 1991 to Present Employer: Undisclosed Title: Undisclosed Department: Surgery/Vascular Biology Program Responsibilities: She has directed her own independent and extra-murally funded research program since joining the faculty and the research staff at Boston Children's Hospital in 1990.
Years: 1985 to 1990 Employer: Undisclosed Title: post-doctoral fellow Department: Undisclosed Responsibilities: She was a post-doctoral fellow in the Harvey Lodish's laboratory, supported by a Helen Hay Whitney fellowship.

Career Accomplishments

Associations / Societies
North American Vascular Biology Organization, International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies, American Society for Cell Biology
Publications and Patents Summary
She has 78 peer-reviewed original research publications and 14 review articles and book chapters. She has two pending patent applications.

Fields of Expertise

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