• United Kingdom

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Investigating blood vessel dysfunction in a range of diseases.

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Research Interests

Research Overview:

All blood vessels in the body are lined by a single layer of cells called the endothelium. The cells that make up this layer (endothelial cells) have many important functions, such as controlling blood flow and blood clotting. These cells are the front line in cardiovascular health, and are involved in most human diseases. For example, endothelial cells allow cancer tumours to grow, and they malfunction in Alzheimer’ disease. The driving focus of my research is to define how endothelial cells work, and so identify new targets for disease treatment and prevention. Broadly, my research contributions cover the following:

1. Vascular discovery science infrastructure

I have developed an extensive portfolio of methodologies, hardware, and software to probe blood vessel function. These include novel microscopes for blood vessel imaging, open-source pressure myography, advanced calcium imaging techniques, and signal processing software.

These tools provide new ways to explore blood vessel behaviour and will accelerate the convergence of vascular discovery science and medicine.

2. Vascular discovery science

Using the above techniques, I provide new insights into blood vessel behaviour. For example, I established that the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, is a physiological regulator of blood flow. I demonstrated that mitochondria are required for endothelial function. By applying my tools to animal models of disease, my work is beginning to reveal the molecular and physiological mechanisms that give rise to vascular dysfunction.

These discoveries inform novel therapeutic strategies to treat blood vessel dysfunction in cardiovascular disease.

3. Open-source physiology

I am driven by a desire to improve research through Open Science - the free sharing of publications, datasets, and software/hardware. To promote Open Science in physiology, I developed the VasoTracker platform (www.vasotracker.com) to freely distribute open-source tools arising from my research. I also contribute to the IUPHAR/BPS Guide to Pharmacology (bit.ly/3qax6xG )

Open-source physiology will increase the accessibility, usability and reproducibility of vascular research.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

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