Description of Research Expertise:
 Endothelial Cell Adhesion and Motility
 Tumor Metastasis
 Pulmonary Hypertension
Description of Research
PECAM-1 AND ANGIOGENESIS: The formation of blood vessels involves the migration of endothelial cells from preexisting vessels and their subsequent assembly into new vascular channels. PECAM-1 is an endothelial-expressed molecule that appears to play a role in angiogenesis by promoting the efficiency of endothelial cell migration. Current studies in my laboratory investigate the intracellular signaling cascades, triggered by PECAM-1, that promote endothelial cell motility.
PECAM-1 AND TUMOR METASTASIS TO THE LUNG: In an emerging area for our group, recent collaborative efforts by our laboratory have demonstrated that antagonism of PECAM-1 function or loss of its expression on endothelial cells inhibits the development of experimental lung metastases. It appears that the mechanism of this inhibition does not involve an impairment of angiogenesis, but other potential processes that are now the subject of active investigation.
PULMONARY HYPERTENSION: Since 2011, I have served as the Director of Cell Center Core for the Pulmonary Hypertension Breakthrough Initiative located at the University of Pennsylvania. Using techniques we have developed that enable the site-specific isolation of endothelial, smooth muscle and advential cells from the main and types I, II, and III arterial segments, our core has been successfully responsible for isolating, banking and distributing to investigators across the country lung vascular cells. In addition, we have been actively engaged in characterizing the site-specific functional and molecular differences between these cells.
Valsamma Abraham, PhD– Senior Investigator
Rahul Kupar, B.S. – Research Specialist