A photo of Saulius Sumanas.

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Biography & Affiliation


Saulius Sumanas, PhD, is interested in studying the molecular mechanisms of vascular development and applying his findings towards developing new treatment strategies for human vascular disorders. He has a broad background in molecular and developmental biology with a specific training and expertise in vascular developmental biology. He and his lab have been using a zebrafish model due to its multiple unique advantages. During his postdoctoral work he identified ETS transcription factor Etsrp/Etv2 as a key regulator of vasculogenesis. During the subsequent work in his laboratory, funded by R01 and other external and internal awards, they demonstrated in zebrafish embryos a distinct origin of arterial and venous progenitors which led to a new model of arterial-venous specification (Kohli et al., 2013, Dev Cell), analyzed how transcription factor Etv2 regulates the choice between vascular endothelial and cardiomyocyte lineages (Palencia-Desai et al., 2011, Development), determined novel roles for Etv2 and a related ETS factor Fli1b in developmental and tumor angiogenesis (Craig et al., 2015, ATVB; Baltrunaite et al., 2017, Angiogenesis), identified developmental signals which regulate specification and differentiation of the endocardium (Wong et al., 2012, Dev Biol; Palencia-Desai et al., 2015, Development), and identified COL22A1 as a candidate gene affected in intracranial aneurysms (Quynh et al., 2018, Dis Mod Mech).

Research Interests

Vascular development, angiogenesis, zebrafish models of human diseases

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Developmental Biology


BS: Vilnius University, Biochemistry, Vilnius, Lithuania, 1995.

PhD: University of Minnesota, Department of Biochemistry, Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN, 2000.

Postdoctoral Fellow: University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 2002-2007.


Zebrafish etv2 knock-in line labels vascular endothelial and blood progenitor cells. Chestnut, B; Sumanas, S. Developmental Dynamics. 2020; 249:245-261.

Clec14a genetically interacts with Etv2 and Vegf signaling during vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in zebrafish. Pociute, K; Schumacher, JA; Sumanas, S. BMC Developmental Biology. 2019; 19.

Collagen COL22A1 maintains vascular stability and mutations in COL22A1 are potentially associated with intracranial aneurysms. Ton, QV; Leino, D; Mowery, SA; Bredemeier, NO; Lafontant, PJ; Lubert, A; Gurung, S; Farlow, JL; Foroud, TM; Broderick, J; et al. DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms. 2018; 11:dmm033654-dmm033654.

ETS transcription factor Etsrp / Etv2 is required for lymphangiogenesis and directly regulates vegfr3 / flt4 expression. Davis, JA; Koenig, AL; Lubert, A; Chestnut, B; Liu, F; Desai, SP; Winkler, T; Pociute, K; Choi, K; Sumanas, S. Developmental Biology. 2018; 440:40-52.

Wnt signaling positively regulates endothelial cell fate specification in the Flila-positive progenitor population via Lef1. Hubner, K; Grassme, KS; Rao, J; Wenke, NK; Zimmer, CL; Korte, L; Mueller, K; Sumanas, S; Greber, B; Herzog, W. Developmental Biology. 2017; 430:142-155.

ETS transcription factors Etv2 and Fli1b are required for tumor angiogenesis. Baltrunaite, K; Craig, MP; Desai, SP; Chaturvedi, P; Pandey, RN; Hegde, RS; Sumanas, S. Angiogenesis. 2017; 20:307-323.

Vegf signaling promotes vascular endothelial differentiation by modulating etv2 expression. Chetty, SC; Rost, MS; Enriquez, JR; Schumacher, JA; Baltrunaite, K; Rossi, A; Stainier, DY R; Sumanas, S. Developmental Biology. 2017; 424:147-161.

Inducible inhibition of gene function with photomorpholinos. Sumanas, S. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2017; 1565:51-57.

ETS transcription factors in embryonic vascular development. Craig, MP; Sumanas, S. Angiogenesis. 2016; 19:275-285.

Vegfa signaling promotes zebrafish intestinal vasculature development through endothelial cell migration from the posterior cardinal vein. Koenig, AL; Baltrunaite, K; Bower, NI; Rossi, A; Stainier, DY R; Hogan, BM; Sumanas, S. Developmental Biology. 2016; 411:115-127.