Research Group

  • Dr. Ana Maria Schor, Principal Investigator
  • Prof. Seth Lawrence Schor, Co-Investigator
  • Prof. Peter Downes, Collaborator


  • University of Dundee, Dundee, UK


  • The Control of Angiogenesis: Matrix Modulation of Cellular Responses to Cytokines

The ability of organ transplants to survive is dependent upon the establishment of an adequate blood supply. This is of paramount importance for artificial organ grafts, which lack their own vascular system and are therefore strictly dependent upon the ingrowth of new vessels from the host tissue, a process referred to as angiogenesis. Many soluble angiogenic factors have been identified that stimulate new blood vessel growth in various experimental models. Unfortunately, incorporation of these factors in tissue grafts has not consistently resulted in the expected induction of vessel growth.

Recent data suggest that this apparent discrepancy is due to the hitherto unrecognised role played by common connective tissue molecules (such as collagen), which form the scaffold to which tissue cells are attached. It is now clear that these molecules determine the precise manner by which cells respond to soluble angiogenic factors.

We have recently identified and cloned a novel and highly potent angiogenic factor. In accord with our current understanding of the control of cell responses to such factors, we find that the activity of this new molecule (referred to as MSF) is only manifested in cells attached to certain connective tissue molecules. The objectives of this study are concerned with understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for this dependence and providing the basic scientific platform required to introduce MSF into clinical practice.