Regulation of vascular morphogenesis

The key aim of our research is to understand how endothelial cells lining blood and lymphatic vessels communicate with each other and the tissue environment to co-ordinate vascular morphogenesis. Most of our research has focused on the lymphatic vasculature that was traditionally considered a passive drainage system responsible for removal of fluid, molecules and cells from tissues. However, emerging evidence in the last few years shows active roles of lymphatic vessels in inflammation, immunity, lipid metabolism and metastasis, and consequent involvement in common diseases such as obesity, autoimmune diseases, atherosclerosis and cancer. This exciting development suggests a high degree of functional diversification of endothelial cells of specific vascular beds. Our second major aim is therefore to understand organ-specific regulation of lymphatic vessel formation and function. We utilise and develop advanced mouse genetic tools to spatially and temporally control expression of genes in specific cell types of interest. By identifying genetic causes of lymphatic diseases we additionally aim to uncover mechanisms of vascular development that are directly relevant to human pathology.

Projects


Open positions

We welcome inquiries about joining the lab as a graduate student or post doc researcher. Please email taija.makinen@igp.uu.se and explain your specific interest in the lab.