PhD; MSc; BSc (Hons)
My research focuses on vascular mechanotransduction. This is the phenomenon by which endothelial cells that line the innermost surface of blood vessels convert the mechanical/frictional forces of blood flow into biochemical signals.
Endothelial cells have been shown to activate completely different signalling pathways in response to different kinds of blood flow. While laminar flow is atheroprotective/anti-inflammatory, turbulent flow is atheroprone/pro-inflammatory. My work focuses on elucidating the mechanisms by which endothelial cells recognize these different patterns of blood flow. A deeper understanding of these pathways may lead to development of interventions that can prevent atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
I use a number of in vitro and in vivo models for my research, which include flow chambers, cone and plate systems, magnetic tweezers and murine vascular surgery.
Prior to joining the RDM, I did my PhD in Reproductive Physiology at UCL, looking at the effects of VEGF over-expression on utero-placental perfusion. Thereafter, I worked as a Research Associate at the Division of Medicine, UCL, looking at how perturbations in VEGF signalling result in cardiovascular pathologies.
I have a deep interest in vascular biology, mechanisms regulating the development of vascular disease and development of interventions to prevent/treat these diseases.
Mechanisms of endothelial flow sensing
Aitken C. et al, (2023), Nature Cardiovascular Research, 2, 517 - 529
Mechanical forces regulate endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition and atherosclerosis via an Alk5-Shc mechanotransduction pathway.
Mehta V. et al, (2021), Sci Adv, 7