General scientific objectives:
Pericytes are perivascular cells that ensheath the endothelium in all major organ systems on the level of the microvasculature. In angiogenesis, pericyte recruitment is largely controlled by PDGF signaling which is crucial for proper vessel maturation and endothelial barrier induction. We are particularly interested in novel signaling mechanisms that control pericyte function and how pericytes contribute to cardiovascular organ pathology.
Currently, we investigate the role of noncoding RNAs in pericyte biology and aim to understand the role of pericytes in disease states such as myocardial infarction and heart failure.