Dept. of Oncology and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, FBM, UNIL
We are interested in vascular biology of normal and diseased tissues. One of our current aims is to identify central regulators of vascular development and function and to study their roles ini immune responses, cancer and metabolic diseases. Another question we currently address is organ-specific vascular specialization. Such specialization is essential for the normal organ function, for example to restrict the diffusion of certain components of blood to cerebrospinal fluid, and it is frequently affected in pathological conditions. However, with a notable exception of blood-and-brain barrier, our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying organ-specific vascular specialization and its role in human diseases is rather fragmentary. Even less is known about how such specialization affects the formation of primary or metastatic tumors, and whether it contributes to the maintenance of cancer stem cells. Using normal intestine, colon cancer and lymph node as models we study vascular specialization and stromal regulation of tissue- and cancer-specific stem cells. We employ tissue-specific inducible genetic animal models, ex vivo characterization of endothelial cells. In our cancer projects we utilize genetic and xenograft models of colon cancer, coupled with analyses of stromal and cancer cell transcriptomes and proteomes, analyses of intestinal organoids and large scale characterization of human tumors.