Hypertension (HTN) and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) are two major and often concurrent health problems contributing to considerable mortality and morbidity world-wide. Dysregulated vascular tone and angiogenic responses to tissue injury are features of these conditions. Through studies in vascular smooth muscle biology, we aim to uncover novel molecular pathways that contribute to the pathobiology of HTN and PAD and therefore identify potential targets for therapeutic gain.
A central focus of our research is the regulatory role of smooth muscle Notch signaling in vessel competency. We employ mouse gene targeting in gain- and loss-of-function experiments and a wide array of cellular, molecular, imaging, and physiologic techniques to characterize the function of Notch signaling in vascular smooth muscle. Our long-term goal is to define the molecular mechanisms in smooth muscle cells that underlie proper vascular formation and physiologic function and to determine how cellular derangements from Notch dysfunction are linked to known human vascular disease.