Biological Challenge 3: Inside Blood Vessels
Biological Challenge Leader: Prof Stephen Nicholls
We will dynamically quantify proteins and molecules within the endothelium
Using new probes and sensors developed by the centre, we will be able to explore blood vessels with greater precision in order to better understand the factors that regulate their function.
Blood vessels regulate human health by delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs, removing metabolic waste products and by directing inflammatory and immune responses to microbes and foreign bodies. The vasculature also plays an important role as the site of formation of atherosclerotic plaque, the underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes. Our ability to image vessels is largely limited to characterising their anatomical burden and composition, yet the ability to sense the molecular events within have proven challenging. Our vascular biologists will collaborate with physicists and chemists to develop novel sensing approaches to detecting molecular pathways involved in vascular health with a number of specific aims:
- To develop more accurate approaches to detect and measure nitric oxide, the major factor promoting vascular health, in biological systems.
- To develop more effective approaches to monitoring inflammatory pathways in blood vessels, given their importance in vascular health and disease.
- To develop effective approaches to sensing the endothelial cells that line the inside layer of blood vessels and play a critical role in orchestrating vascular function.
- To better characterise the factors that influence the growth of new blood vessels, which is critical for human development and a range of states including vascular disease, cancer and transplantation.
These collaborative projects have the potential to be transformative, to equip vascular scientists with novel approaches to studying the cellular biology underlying vascular health, while at the same time providing clinicians with better tools to developing more effective approaches to the detection, prevention and treatment of vascular disease.
- develop more effective approaches to measuring nitric oxide
- develop more effective approaches to characterising vascular inflammation
- develop more effective approaches to characterising endothelial function
- develop more effective approaches to sensing new blood vessel formation