BME PhD Prospectus Defense - Juliann Tefft

  • Starts: 3:00 pm on Thursday, December 6, 2018

Title: “Investigating the heterotypic interaction between endothelial cells and perivascular cells in the context of vascular homeostasis and injury”

Committee: Christopher S. Chen, PhD – BU BME (Advisor, Chair) John T. Ngo, PhD – BU BME Jeroen Eyckmans, PhD – BU BME Hadi T. Nia, PhD – MGH/HMS Radiation Oncology, BU BME

Abstract: Capillaries are comprised of two cell types, an inner monolayer of endothelial cells and an exterior layer of perivascular mural cells, which actively communicate through the basement membrane. The function of the vasculature is intertwined with the health of both of these cell types. During angiogenesis, mural cells must dissociate from the vessel as endothelial junctions dissolve and sprouting occurs, but must reconnect with the vessel later to promote maturation. In pathogenic conditions such as diabetes, the loss of mural cells can lead to increased vascular leak, leading to complications such as blindness and chronic wounds. Despite the implications for health and disease, the full mechanisms through which these cells communicate have not been fully elucidated. In the first part of this proposal, we develop a model for measuring barrier function in mural cell lined vessels, and use this system to investigate how the Notch pathway is used to promote barrier function. In the second part of the proposal, we develop a system to study wound healing in a capillary bed model in order to understand how these two cell types coordinate to heal a wound, and aim to test pro-angiogenic materials in vitro. These studies will advance the mechanistic understanding of mural-endothelial cell communication.

44 Cummington Mall, Room 401 (ERB)

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