Joanne Chan, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Assistant Professor, Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital
DF/HCC Program AffiliationAngiogenesis, Invasion and Metastasis
My research is focused on dissecting signal transduction pathways in angiogenesis using the zebrafish as an in vivo model. The transparency of the zebrafish embryo makes it an ideal model for vascular biology studies since blood flow can be easily observed in a living animal. All zebrafish genes identified so far have human counterparts and are highly conserved. The level of conservation is such that a human VEGF receptor inhibitor was able to regulate zebrafish angiogenesis with the potency and precision approaching a genetic knockout. Using this chemical genetic approach, I have shown that AKT functions downstream of the VEGF receptor, providing in vivo evidence for AKT function in angiogenesis in the intact zebrafish embryo. Currently, using a VEGF receptor inhibitor in a zebrafish mutagenesis screen, I hope to identify genetic mutations which enhance or suppress the anti-angiogenic phenotype. Genes identified in this screen could become additional targets for anti-angiogenic therapy relevant to many angiogenesis-dependent diseases including cancer.
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