Wenkart Chair of Endothelium
Medicine, Central Clinical School
Professor Jennifer Gamble is an internationally recognised research leader in the field of endothelial cell function and holds the Inaugural Wenkart Chair of the Endothelium.
Her interests lie in understanding endothelial cell function particularly in the area of inflammation, and how dysfunction can influence disease. Her initial publication in this area established the endothelium as a dynamic organ, central to the control of inflammatory processes.
Diseases being investigated include cancer, atherosclerosis, metabolic disease, oedema and thoracic aortic aneurysms.
The current studies in the Vascular Biology Program are under four broad areas:
1. Understanding ageing of the endothelium and its impact on vascular function. Age is the greatest risk factor for the development of many diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Understanding the consequences of the ageing process to endothelial cell function will influence our ability to help us “age better”.
2. Novel regulators of angiogenesis. Our genetic screens have identified genes that control endothelial cell function. One such gene impacts on tumour progression, metabolism and liver fibrosis. We are studying the mechanism of action of this gene, at the structural and functional levels
3. MicroRNA regulation of oedema and angiogenesis. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNA, that control more than 30% of our protein coding genes. Thus they are known as regulators of major biological systems. Further they are often dysregulated in disease. Oedema is a critical feature in pathologies such as stroke and myocardial infarcts and angiogenic vessels in tumours are highly leaky. Limiting oedema can result in improved outcomes. We have identified a suite of microRNAs than influence vascular oedema and these are being studied as possible therapeutic candidates. Some of these microRNAs also regulate angiogenesis.
4. Diseases of the Aorta. This is within the newly established Agnes Ginges, Diseases of the Aorta Laboratory, headed by Dr Renjing Liu and was established in collaboration with Prof Richmond Jeremy, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Initially we are focussing on thoracic aortic aneurysms which affect 1:500 to 1:1000 people and which can result in sudden death. Our aim is to identify the molecular determinants of disease progression, using animal models and extensive archival human material, which will expose opportunities to influence disease outcome.