Caroline Cheng, PhD
Nephrology and Hypertension
We’re trying to make new blood vessels.
Dr. Cheng is member and workpackage leader of multiple large national consortia, including IVALVE (heart valve and blood vessel regeneration work together with TUe), EGIP (new mapping techniques for atrial fibrillation), RECONNECT (Cardiorenal research), and Queen of Hearts (biomarkers in female associated cardiovascular disease), which are all supported by the Dutch Heart Foundation. A large part of her research is also funded by these consortia. Within RECONNECT she plays a prominent role as consortium scientific coordinator.
Together with Dr. Debby Gawlitta, she is also involved in a VVUMC funded project for development of new bio-inks and 3D printing techniques for complex vascular networks. Additional grants and awards include e.g. the Netherlands Foundation of CardioVascular Excellence (NFCVE) research grant in 2009, and the EMC fellowship grant in 2008. For more information on the different consortia and the 3D bioprinting project, please visit the weblinks below.
My group is interested in understanding the mechanisms that regulate new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and vascular growth in normal development and disease. In particular, we study the regulatory function of established vessels and how they promote new growth. To do this, we’re dissecting molecular pathways during embryonic development of zebrafish and identifying new key genes. In the retina, for example, there’s a two-week window of development during which new vasculature is laid down. We’ve identified a few candidate genes and are working with a biotech company to develop new methods of promoting blood vessel formation. For this we use cutting-edge techniques, including biofunctionalized hydrogels and 3D printing. We’re also studying this in the context of chronic kidney disease and myocardial infarction. Another aspect my lab focuses on is the interaction between different cell types in a vessel and how they’re influenced by mechanical stumuli, for example, shear stress. It’s interesting that environment can stimulate certain cell types to adapt to a different purpose, thus creating a completely different vasculature.
- Cheng C et al. Circulation. 2012 Jun 26;125(25):3142-58.
- Cheng C et al. Circ Res. 2011 Aug 5;109(4):382-95.
- Larsen K et al. Eur Heart J. 2012 Jan;33(1):120-8.
- Cheng C et al. Circ Res. 2010 May 28;106(10):1656-66 .
- Cheng C et al. Circulation. 2009 Jun 16;119(23):3017-27.