Dr. Popel's research focuses on the following areas:
Systems Biology of Angiogenesis - Angiogenesis is important in diverse areas such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, wound healing and tissue engineering. Dr. Popel and his research team are interested in the quantitative understanding of the mechanisms of microvascular network formation under different conditions. Using methods of computational biology combined with in vitro and in vivo experiments, they analyze the signaling pathways leading to angiogenesis as well as the cellular mechanisms governing vascular network formation. They apply this knowledge to design therapeutic strategies for diseases associated with excessive angiogenesis (cancer, age-related macular degeneration) and deficient angiogenesis (peripheral arterial disease). They test therapeutics developed in the lab and also repurposed drugs.
Immuno-Oncology – The burgeoning field of immuno-oncology is using the patient’s own immune system to attack growing tumors. Researchers in Dr. Popel’s lab construct complex computational models describing the immune system’s interactions with the cancer and stromal cells, and simulate monotherapies and combination therapies involving immune checkpoint inhibitors. These approaches allow a better mechanistic understanding of immunotherapies and also facilitate analysis of clinical trials and design of improved therapeutics.
Design and Development of Therapeutic Peptides: We use bioinformatics and other computational methods to make predictions for peptide sequences for specific targets and then use in vitro screening for peptide sequence optimization. Selected peptides are then tested in vivo in various animal models.
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D.P. Noren, W.H. Chou, S.H.Lee, A.A. Qutub, A. Warmflash, D.S. Wagner, A.S. Popel, A. Levchenko. VEGF-mediated Ca2+ signaling steers endothelial cell phenotypes by a combination of stochastic and deterministic decoding. Science Signaling, 9:ra20, 2016 (Journal cover). Highlighted in Science Signaling editorial EDITORS' CHOICE: CALCIUM SIGNALING Gough NR, New connections: Interpreting calcium signals Sci. Signal. 23 Feb 2016: Vol. 9, Issue 416, pp. ec42
S.D. Finley, P. Angelikopoulos, P. Koumoutsakos, and A.S. Popel. Pharmacokinetics of anti-VEGF agent aflibercept in cancer predicted by data driven, molecular-detailed model. CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology 4:641–649, 2015.
E. Lee, N.B. Pandey, and A.S. Popel. Crosstalk between cancer cells and blood endothelial and lymphatic endothelial cells in tumour and organ microenvironment. Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine, 17:e3, 2015.
E. Lee, E. Fertig, K. Jin, S. Sukumar, N.B. Pandey, and A.S. Popel. Breast cancer cells condition lymphatic endothelial cells within pre-metastatic niches to promote metastasis. Nature Communications, 5:4715, 2014.
S.K. Stamatelos, E. Kim, A.P. Pathak, and A.S. Popel. Bioimage informatics aided reconstruction of breast tumor microvasculature and computational predictions of blood flow. Microvasc. Res. 91:8-21, 2014 (Journal cover).