The research in the Ren Laboratory seeks to determine critical molecular signaling pathways in the transdifferentiation of vascular endothelial cells, angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels from preexisting blood vessels), and arteriogenesis (de novo formation of small arteries), and to develop molecular strategies for stimulating or inhibiting the growth of these vessels. The current research focuses on how extracellular signaling couples epigenetic and transcriptional regulation of functional angiogenesis to control the development of peripheral and cerebral vessels in heart and vascular disease, cancer, obesity, neurological disorders and the cardiovascular complications of diabetes. Elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of endothelial cell differentiation and functional angiogenesis will aid in our understanding of the pathobiology of these conditions and in the discovery of innovative and effective therapeutic strategies to promote public health.
1. Molecular signaling in epigenetic and transcriptional regulation of endothelial cell differentiation and angiogenesis (growth of new functional blood vessels). 2. Arteriolar differentiation and arteriogenesis in ischemic heart and vascular diseases and stemness of cancer stem cells.