Discovering Cell Dynamics during Microvascular Growth

04/03/2017 - 3:00pm
Walter Lee Murfee, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Communicore, C1-17

The design of molecular-based therapies aimed at manipulating microvascular growth requires understanding the relationships between blood and lymphatic vessels in adult tissues. Most studies, however, focus on either angiogenesis, defined as the growth of new blood vessels, or lymphangiogenesis, defined as the analogous growth of new lymphatic vessels. Critical questions remain unanswered: Are angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis related? Can lymphatic vessels become blood vessels? Can blood vessels become lymphatic vessels? The first objective of this presentation will be to share discoveries from our laboratory that span angiogenesis to lymphangiogenesis made from chronic animal experiments. Each discovery will motivate the need for a new ex vivo experimental model that incorporates the multi-cellular and multi-system complexity of a real network scenario. The second objective will be to introduce a novel tissue culture model as such a tool to meet these needs by demonstrating that it can be used for real-time mechanistic investigation of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis at the same time. Overall, our results will emphasize the impact of applying integrative approaches for basic science, tissue engineering, and pre-clinical evaluation of cell dynamic based therapies.


Dr. Murfee is currently an associate professor in the department of biomedical engineering at Tulane University. He is also a member of the Tulane Center for Aging, the Tulane Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence directed, and the Tulane Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine. Prior to Tulane, Dr. Murfee received his Ph.D. from the department of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Skalak and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Microcirculatory Laboratory with Dr. Geert Schmid-Schönbein in the department of bioengineering at the University of California – San Diego.  Dr. Murfee’s laboratory applies in vivo, in vitro, and computational approaches to investigate the patterning coordination between blood and lymphatic vessels, the role of pericytes during angiogenesis, and the microvascular patterning alterations associated with age-related diseases.