AVN Members : Dr. Sarah Childs
Childs lab interests:
We are interested in angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels develop from the perspective of how different types of cell interactions guide the development of a functional vasculature.
Vascular patterning: The precursors of endothelial cells, the angioblasts, migrate long distances to form vessels. One of the key questions in the lab is how angioblasts are guided to form patterned networks. The PlexinD1 receptor on angioblasts receives environmental signals from semaphorins to guide some vessel growth, but other beds have no obvious patterning cues. We are interested in determining organ-specific vascular patterning cues.
Vascular stabilization: Endothelial cells closely interact with 'mural' cells (smooth muscle cells and pericytes' that provide support and signalling for the maturation of both cell types. We have identified several genetic mutants with defects in vascular stabilization and are exploring the genetics of how mural cells and endothelial cells signal and interact with each other. There are developing connections between the genes we study and human stroke.
Vision research: We collaborate with two groups to use our zebrafish model to understand eye development. With Dr. Sarah McFarlane (Calgary) we are using plexin-semaphorin signalling to understand early events in eye morphogenesis. With Dr. Ordan Lehmann, we are using the fish as a model for stroke associated with defects in the FoxC1 gene.