Our laboratory focuses on the molecular regulation of angiogenesis by the Akt family of kinases. We are particularly interested in the role of these kinases during angiogenesis as they pertain to metabolism, development and cutaneous wound healing. Our work can be divided into two major subject areas.
Mitochondrial Homeostasis and Angiogenesis
We have shown a pivotal role for Akt3 in the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and homeostasis through regulation of PGC-1, a transcriptional co-activator of nuclear encoded mitochondrial genes via its regulation by nuclear export. This pathway links mitochondrial fitness to angiogenic responses and to cell division. These findings are important because endothelial cells (like other plastic or “stem-like” cells) require specific controls for genomic stability to promote reactivation of quiescent vasculature to active angiogenic endothelium.
Tissue Regeneration using a Marine-Derived Nanofiber
We are interested in the molecular pathways stimulated by a marine derived nanofiber (pGlcNAc, TalyMed© http://talymed.com/) that results in increased wound repair in cutaneous wound healing models. Our studies are in collaboration with Marine Polymer Inc. This nanofiber stimulates Akt1 dependent pathways that lead to increased angiogenesis via Ets1 activation and increased innate immunity and anti-bacterial activities. Our new findings show that nanofiber stimulation reduces scarring and increases tensile strengths of the wound. Our current projects are geared to understand the underlying pathways which produce optimal tissue regeneration.