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).
Vascular development, angiogenesis, zebrafish models of human diseases
Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics