Andrei Karginov, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology at the University of Illinois in Chicago
One of the directions of my laboratory is development of novel tools for interrogation of signaling pathways in living cells. We employ protein engineering approaches to gain control of individual proteins, reconstruct and manipulate specific signaling pathways, and build artificial signaling networks. These innovative technologies allow us to overcome limitations of existing methods and tackle scientific problems from a different perspective. In our most recent work, we developed an approach for transient activation of kinases. By combining two protein engineering strategies we were able to turn on and turn off a specific kinase with tight temporal control in living cells. Using this tool we determined morphological changes mediated by transient activation of kinase c-SRC for various periods of time, and identified molecular mechanism driving these events.
Interactions between cells, cell adhesion to extracellular matrix, and cell migration are fundamental cell functions that are often dysregulated in human diseases. We study signaling pathways regulating these processes in endothelial and cancer cells. Our effort is directed on better understanding of molecular mechanisms controlling endothelial barrier, angiogenesis, and cancer metastasis. One of our current projects focuses on the role of Src family kinases (SFKs) in regulation of endothelial barrier. Another direction of my laboratory is aimed at understanding the initial step of angiogenesis – degradation of extracellular matrix by endothelial cells.
Selma Osmanagic-Myers, PhD
Department of Biotechnology, BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
I am interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease in particular the role cytoskeletal and nucleoskeletal proteins play in these processes. I studied the role of cytolinker protein plectin and intermediate filaments in mechanotransduction within endothelial cells in the lab of Gerhard Wiche (University of Vienna). Currently, I work on my own project in the lab of Johannes Grillari (BOKU, Vienna) and in close collaboration with Roland Foisner (Medical University of Vienna). The focus of my research is on the nucleo-cytoskeletal associated mechanisms that lead to endothelial aging, specifically in the context of Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome. To address this goal, we utilized a new mouse model expressing the progeria-causing lamin A mutant in vascular endothelial cells. Our recent findings in these mice reveal severe aging-related cardiovascular pathology caused by impaired mechanotransduction and shear stress response in endothelial cells.
Christophe Ampe, PhD
Senior Full Professor, Department of Biochemistry - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
The group has a long standing interest in structure function relationships of actin and actin binding proteins, going from understanding activity towards regulation in an intracellular context. The group combines biochemical, molecular and cell biology approaches to understand the function of these proteins in building cytoskeletal structures enabling cell migration and tumour cell invasion. More recently we embarked on a systems biology journey employing unbiased approaches to catalogue and understand the complexity of malignant cell migration. This also involves developing cell migration assays running at higher throughput under standardized conditions for perturbation studies and associated software for data management and analysis.