BOSTON -- Blood vessel formation is critical to life and its manipulation is instrumental to a number of diseases. For more than 40 years, investigations into the structure and function of endothelial cells lining the blood vessels have revealed a complex tissue with complex functions, demonstrating that endothelial cells participate in all aspects of vascular homeostasis and pathological processes.
Today, important revelations regarding endothelial cell behavior are emerging from vascular simulation research, a blossoming interdisciplinary field that makes use of novel computational models to uncover the cellular processes and dynamic interactions that take place as arteries and veins are built.
Vascular simulation research is the focus of two recent papers coauthored by investigators in the Center for Vascular Biology Research (CVBR) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), one of which provides a novel explanation for the enlarged blood vessels that are seen in various pathologies, including tumors and retinopathies.
"Understanding how, when and why individual endothelial cells coordinate decisions to change shape in relation to dynamic tissue environment signals is key to understanding normal and abnormal blood vessel growth," says Katie Bentley, PhD, Group Leader of the Computational Biology Laboratory in the CVBR and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. "Such insights could, for example, prove valuable in the treatment of cancer, which relies on a constant supply of blood to support tumor growth and cancerous spread."
Adaptive systems research brings things into focus
Bentley's computational modeling derives from training in Adaptive Systems research, an interdisciplinary field aimed at elucidating the fundamental organizing principles of living systems through the combined use of simulation, robotics and experimental models. Her work focuses on the construction of simul
|Contact: Bonnie Prescott|
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center