Zebrafish vasculatory system

(movie kindly provided by Nathan Lawson, Massachusetts Medical School)

Network for Vascular MicroRNAs 

Vascular system assessed by microCT

(picture kindly provided by Zhen Zhuang, Yale University)



Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of human morbidity and mortality worldwide. This is of particular importance in view of aging populations and with increased incidence of vascular risk factors. Despite some advances in the last decade, the burden of cardiovascular disease in the general public and its economic impact remains high.


To maintain vascular homeostasis the formation, stabilization and regulation of blood vessels through angiogenesis, arteriogenesis and vascular remodeling is crucial and requires a complex interplay between circulating cells and vascular cells. Impaired vascular function, atherosclerosis and abnormal neovascularization can lead to tissue ischemia and injury as observed in myocardial ischemia and peripheral vascular disease with limited possibilities for long-term, successful therapeutic intervention.


Recently, microRNAs (master regulators of gene network orchestration) have been identified that play an increasing role in diagnostic and therapeutic based therapeutic strategies.  We have assembled and continuously seek for individual research teams that are interested in the emerging field of vascular miRNAs. We feel that as a group sharing ideas and protocols there will be synergy that is needed when we want to better understand the role and therapeutic potential of miRNA-based therapies for vascular diseases.