Miikka Vikkula, professor of Human Genetics at de Duve Institute, is the European coordinator of a large international network titled “Recalibrating Vascular Malformations by Pharmacological Intervention (ReVAMP)”. The five-year project has received a $7 million Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Program grant from the Leducq Foundation.
The project aims to advance the basic understanding of vascular anomalies that lead to stroke, edema, hemorrhages and deformities associated with severe chronic pain, and to develop new pharmacological therapeutics.
The research focuses on molecular mechanisms through which vascular cells respond to the mechanical stimuli of blood flow - or mechanotransduction - and how mutations disturb mechanotransduction and cause vascular malformations.
“By the end of the funding period, we aim to have novel ideas and approaches that have been tested preclinically and that could thus be developed to be tested in patients. As the domain is making great progress, we envision that the results will benefit many patients affected by vascular anomalies”, says Miikka Vikkula.
Network members also include Prof. Ondine Cleaver, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Prof. Josef Penninger, University of British Columbia (Canada); Prof. Salim Seyfried, University of Potsdam (Germany); and Prof. Elisabeth Tournier-Lasserve, Paris Diderot University-INSERM U1141 Research Lab (France). The network collectively engages a total of 49 trainees at different stages of professional advancement at the beginning of the network project.
|Scientists involved in the ReVAMP project|
The interdisciplinary team of basic research scientists and clinicians combines expertise in genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, stem cell biology, and in vivo preclinical modelling.
“This network project brings together six research groups with strong track records. The fact that they represent different fields and skill sets is the foundation for the planned synergistic projects that we hope will bring about breakthrough discoveries that individually the groups would not be able to achieve”, says Vikkula.
The network will also launch two calls for applications (in years 2 and 4) to support four emerging scientists not currently affiliated with a project member.
The Leducq Foundation was founded in 1996 to support international, collaborative research in cardiovascular and neurovascular disease with an emphasis on the training of early-career scientists.