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The Richard Rivers Lab researches vascular communication with a focus on microcirculation physiology. Our team seeks to determine how metabolic demands are passed between tissue and the vascular network as well as along the vascular network itself. Our goal is to better understand processes of diseases such as cancer and diabetes, which could lead to the development of more targeted drugs and treatment. We are also working to determine the role for inwardly rectifying potassium channels (Kir) 2.1 and 6.1 in signaling along the vessel wall as well as the role of gap junctions.
Systems Biology Laboratory
The Systems Biology Lab applies methods of multiscale modeling to problems of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and examines the systems biology of angiogenesis, breast cancer and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Using coordinated computational and experimental approaches, the lab studies the mechanisms of breast cancer tumor growth and metastasis to find ways to inhibit those processes.
We use bioinformatics to discover novel agents that affect angiogenesis and perform in vitro and in vivo experiments to test these predictions. In addition we study protein networks that determine processes of angiogenesis, arteriogenesis and inflammation in PAD. The lab also investigates drug repurposing for potential applications as stimulators of therapeutic angiogenesis, examines signal transduction pathways and builds 3D models of angiogenesis.
The lab has discovered over a hundred novel anti-angiogenic peptides, and has undertaken in vitro and in vivo studies testing their activity unde...r different conditions. We have investigated structure-activity relationship (SAR) doing point mutations and amino acid substitutions and constructed biomimetic peptides derived from their endogenous progenitors. They have demonstrated the efficacy of selected peptides in mouse models of breast, lung and brain cancers, and in age-related macular degeneration.