Vascular Regeneration and Stem Cell Biology

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Vascular Regeneration -- The mission of our research effort is to develop methods to restore vascular function, enhance vascular supply, and reverse vascular aging. This is a vertically integrated translational program from molecule to man, with basic, pre-clinical and clinical research components. The program is focused on endothelial biology, angiogenesis and vascular regeneration, and is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program and industry.  Exemplary of the work in the Cooke lab is the discovery of a new angiogenic pathway that is mediated by endothelial nicotinic cholinergic receptors. This pathway can be therapeutically modulated in animal models of tumor (nAChR antagonists inhibit pathological angiogenesis).  Using transcriptional profiling and siRNA technology the group is elucidating the genetic determinants of this pathway. Most recently, we have developed a program in endothelial regeneration, using induced pluripotential stem cells to generate endothelial cells for therapy of vascular disease. We have discovered that activation of innate immunity is required for effective nuclear reprogramming. Human iPSCs can also be used to generate vascular cells from patients with vascular diseases, so as to study pathophysiological mechanisms, and explore new therapies.

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