Happy and healthy blood vessels: Keep ‘em quiescent

Vascular dysfunction is the primary cause of human mortality. The molecular analysis of endothelial activation mechanisms has therefore been focus of intense research during the last three decades. Conversely, vascular quiescence is not just the absence of activation programs. Instead, it is only recognized in recent years that vascular quiescence is an active process that needs to be actively maintained in order to avoid vascular dysfunction. The presentation will discuss the state-of-the-art of vascular quiescence research and focus on recent systems biology approaches to study the transcriptomic program and epigenetic regulation of vascular quiescence.
Trained as veterinary surgeon (DVM, Hannover, Germany) and as experimental pathologist (PhD, Cornell University, USA), Hellmut Augustin worked previously as Assistant Professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany (1993-2000) and as Departmant Head at the Tumor Biology Center in Freiburg, Germany (2001-2006).
Since 2006, he is Professor of Vascular and Tumor Biology at Heidelberg University and Division Head at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. His laboratory (www.augustinlab.de) studies 1.) the molecular mechanisms of physiological blood vessel formation, assembly, and maturation focusing on angiogenesis regulating receptor tyrosine kinases, most notably on the Angiopoietin-Tie ligand-receptor system as well as on other selected novel candidate molecules, 2.) the mechanisms of organotypic vascular differentiation and angiocrine signaling studying the lung and liver vasculature as prototypic vascular beds, 3.) the molecular mechanisms of tumor progression focusing on tumor-vessel interactions during metastasis, and 4.) translational tumor microenvironment experiments aimed at defining the therapeutic window of stromal targeted therapies.