Our research focuses on the blood and lymphatic vascular systems and their role in inflammatory diseases and tissue regeneration. The lymphatic vascular system in particular has emerged in recent years as an important regulator of tissue homeostasis, while the molecular mechanisms that govern its development and maintenance of function in the adult are still poorly understood.
Using complex assays with primary human cells and tissues, animal models, and applying state of the art profiling technologies, we investigate two aspects of the lymphatic system: lymphangiogenesis and endothelial barrier function. Sprouting lymphangiogenesis, where new vessels are created from pre-existing ones to allow for enhanced lymphatic fluid drainage, is a major form of tissue lymphatic neovascularization. We aim to discover novel factors that affect endothelial differentiation and vessel functionality and to expand our knowledge on the molecular pathways involved. Furthermore, the tightly controlled barrier formed by lymphatic endothelial cells directly influences fluid absorption and transport as well as immune cell trafficking. Early evidence is showing that lymphatic endothelial barrier is disrupted in inflamed tissue. By increasing the functionality of vasculature we aim to improve tissue regeneration and by this approach open new therapeutic directions.