Research Fellow on Dynamics of Vasculature

About SMB Forums Open Positions Research Fellow on Dynamics of Vasculature

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    We are looking to recruit a Research Fellow to join an exciting interdisciplinary project aimed at uncovering new links between molecular and mechanical regulators of the endothelium – the cells that line blood vessels. This project, funded by the BBSRC, is at the interface of Mathematical Biology (Dr Fabian Spill, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Birmingham), Bioengineering (Prof. Emad Moeendarbary, Professor of Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology at UCL) and Cell Biology (Prof. Anne Ridley, FRS, Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Bristol).

    The vasculature is a complex system, critical to the functioning of higher-level organisms. It is composed of large vessels that branch into smaller and smaller vessels. On the smallest scale, the microvasculature consists of arterioles, venules and capillaries. Here, oxygen and nutrients are exchanged between the vessels and the tissue. Also, immune or cancer cells can transmigrate through gaps within the blood vessels into the surrounding tissues. For the immune system, this is a critical function, as immune cells need to reach sites of infection. However, high levels of transmigration may also contribute to chronic inflammation, and cancer cells transmigrate the blood vessels during metastasis. Therefore, a tight regulation of the blood vessel gaps is critical during homeostasis, and de-regulation of gaps may contribute to diseases.

    We will be developing an integrative modelling/experimental approach that incorporates multiple physiological biophysical properties into both mathematical models and in vitro assays. Our approach will advance models and experiments iteratively together to gain unprecedented insights into the dynamic nature of the endothelial microvasculature. The outcome will be a versatile mathematical modelling platform to study the dynamics of the microvasculature in homeostasis, and will underpin future work on the contribution of endothelial dynamics to diseases. We will advance our recently developed engineered in vitro assays that can generate stable, perfused 3D microvasculature in complex extracellular matrices, and that is therefore ideally suited to validate our mathematical modelling predictions. The combined modelling/experimental system will be used to test several specific biological hypotheses on the complex role of major contributors to endothelial dynamics and gap formation.

    Inform enquiries can be made to Fabian Spill

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