Endothelial cells line the insides of all blood vessels but differ significantly depending on their position within the vascular network. In early embryonic development, this heterogeneity is achieved largely through differential expression of endothelial-specific genes. In later development and in adult life, extrinsic factors, importantly blood flow dynamics, contribute to endothelial heterogeneity in the context of both healthy and diseased blood vessels.
My research focuses on using transcriptional analysis to investigate the role of blood flow in driving endothelial heterogeneity. This work combines enhancer identification with mouse, zebrafish, cell culture and in silico models, and is primarily focused on development. Understanding how flow mediates gene regulation during development might help us understand endothelial responses to blood flow in other contexts, such as in adult vascular physiology and in vascular disease.
I am funded by the British Heart Foundation 4-year DPhil studentship. Before joining the De Val lab I obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Pharmacology from the University of Edinburgh.