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Masanobu Komatsu, Ph.D.

Headshot of Masanobu Komatsu
  • Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Research Interests

Normalization of pathologically remodeling/regenerating blood vessels more


Dr. Komatsu is a senior scientist in the Johns Hopkins All Children's Research Institute, Department of Surgery and the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute. He is an Associate Professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He studies the malformation and malfunction of blood vessels and how these abnormalities impact medical conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological disorders. He hopes to discover ways to restore normal function to those vessels, which would have a profound effect on the efficacy of treatments.

Dr. Komatsu earned an undergraduate degree in marine science/biology and a Ph.D. in cell biology at the University of Miami, where he also did post-doctoral training in immunology. He continued post-doctoral studies at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute under Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti who discovered fibronectin and integrins. In 2005, he became an Assistant Professor of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pathology, where he began investigating the molecular mechanism of blood vessel maturation. He joined Sanford Burnham as a faculty member in 2008 before coming to Johns Hopkins All Children’s in 2018 to continue his research at JHU. He holds patents related to the vascular regulation by R-RAS and peptide-mediated vascular targeting of pulmonary hypertension. more


  • Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • B.S.; University of Miami (Florida) (1991)
  • Ph.D.; University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine (Florida) (1998)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Malfunction and malformation of blood vessels are associated with a broad range of medical conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological disorders. The ultimate goal of Dr. Komatsu’s research is to find a way to reverse the process of abnormal vessel formation and remodeling, and restore normal function to these vessels. Normalization of blood vessels provides unique therapeutic opportunities. It can enhance the efficacy of cancer treatments, reestablish blood flow to ischemic hearts and limbs, avoid vascular complications in diabetes, and prevent blindness caused by damaging of the retina in diabetic and elderly people. Newly formed blood vessels must undergo a maturation process. The defects in this process result in the formation of functionally defective blood vessels, which is typically seen in pathological lesions. Dr. Komatsu’s research is uncovering key molecular pathways that promote the vessel maturation process.

Technology Expertise Keywords

Development of vascular targeting technology for organ/lesion-specific drug delivery; Development of vascular imaging technology

Selected Publications

Perrot C, Sawada J, and Komatsu M. Prolonged activation of cyclic AMP signaling leads to endothelial barrier disruption via transcriptional repression of RRAS. FASEB journal. 2018; 32(11): 5793-5812. PMID: 29775418

Li F, Sawada J, and Komatsu M. R-Ras-Akt axis induces endothelial lumenogenesis and regulates the patency of regenerating vasculature. Nature Communications. 2017; 8(1):1720, PMID: 29170374

Sawada J, Urakami T, Li F, Urakami A, Zhu W, Fukuda M, Li DY, Ruoslahti E, Komatsu M. Small GTPase R-Ras regulates integrity and functionality of tumor blood vessels. Cancer Cell. 2012 Aug 14;22(2):235-49. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.06.013. PMID: 22897853

Urakami T, Järvinen TA, Toba M, Sawada J, Ambalavanan N, Mann D, McMurtry I, Oka M, Ruoslahti E, Komatsu M. Peptide-directed highly selective targeting of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Am J Pathol. 2011 Jun;178(6):2489-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.02.032. PMID: 21549345

Komatsu M, Ruoslahti E. R-Ras is a global regulator of vascular regeneration that suppresses intimal hyperplasia and tumor angiogenesis. Nature Medicine 2005 Dec;11(12):1346-50. PMID: 16286923


R-Ras activity in vascular regulation
Patent # U.S. Patent No. US8506965 B2 | 

CAR Peptide for Homing, Diagnosis & Targeted Therapy for Pulmonary and Fibrotic Disorders
Patent # U.S. Patent No. US9180161 B2 | 

Contact for Research Inquiries

600, 5th street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 map

Email me

Activities & Honors


  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Heart Association
  • North American Vascular Biology Organization
  • American Thoracic Society

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Study sheds light on how the body forms new blood vessels, Futurism, Nov 2017

Top stories of 2017: #10) Scientists find key to regenerating blood vessels, EurekAlert!, Dec 2017

Angiogenesis - Latest research and news, Ivanhoe Broadcast, Feb 2018

Getting the ‘Akt’ straight in angiogenesis, DDNews, Mar 2018

Molecule that fixes “leaky” blood vessels can impact cancer, stroke, and blindness, SBP Beaker Blog, (March 2015)

To treat breast cancer, give it a lifeline, SBP Beaker Blog, (October 2016)

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