Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute


Following are descriptions of the lab work done by center members, listed by principal investigator.

Please note that not all work done within these individual labs falls within the goals of the Center for Vascular and Developmental Biology.

 Jing Jin Lab

Seeking to understand the molecular mechanisms of kidney and vasculature diseases.

The Jin lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of kidney and vasculature diseases. Cell junction and matrix proteins play a major role in the disease etiology and progression. We study how vascular and glomerular basement membrane (GBM) matrix proteins are interwoven, and the mechanisms for physiological and pathological GBM remodeling during repair. Specifically, we use mass spectrometry to map the patterns of post-translational modifications such as hydroxylation and glycosylation on the GBM collagen and study how these affect the meshwork topology. Ultimately we hope such knowledge may help to devise targeted therapies for a broad range of kidney and vascular diseases

The lab is generally interested in the pathological mechanisms of kidney and vascular diseases. We take a proteomic approach to study molecules that serve structural or functional roles in kidney filtration. Particularly, we are trying to understand how the kidney podocytes maintain and regulate their slit diaphragm, as well as their interactions with the glomerular basement membrane.

Faculty Profile

Jing Jin, PhD

 Tsutomu Kume Lab

The Kume Lab’s research interests focus on cardiovascular development, cardiovascular stem/progenitor cells, and angiogenesis.

Research Description

Cardiovascular development is at the center of all the work that goes on in the Kume lab. The cardiovascular system is the first functional unit to form during embryonic development and is essential for the growth and nurturing of other developing organs. Failure to form the cardiovascular system often leads to embryonic lethality, and inherited disorders of the cardiovascular system are quite common in humans. The causes and underlying developmental mechanisms of these disorders, however, are poorly understood. A particular emphasis in our laboratory has recently been the study of cardiovascular signaling pathways and transcriptional regulation in physiological and pathological settings using mice as animal models, as well as embryonic stem (ES) cells as an in vitro differentiation system. The ultimate goal of our research is to provide new insights into the mechanisms that lead to the development of therapeutic strategies designed to treat clinically relevant conditions of pathological neovascularization.


View Dr. Kume's publications on PubMed.

For more information, visit the faculty profile for Tsutomu Kume, PhD.

Contact Us

Contact Dr. Kume at 312-503-0623 or the Kume Lab at 312-503-3008.

Staff Listing

Austin Culver
MD Candidate

Anees Fatima
Research Assistant Professor

Christine Elizabeth Kamide
Senior Research Technologist

Erin Lambers
PhD Candidate

Ting Liu
Senior Research Technologist

Jonathon Misch
Research Technologist

 Guillermo Oliver Lab

Exploring how each specific cell type and organ acquires all its specific and unique morphological and functional characteristics during embryogenesis

Research Description

The Oliver Lab focuses on understanding how each specific cell type and organ acquires all its specific and unique morphological and functional characteristics during embryogenesis. Alterations in the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling organ formation can result in major defects and pathological alterations. Our rationale is that a better knowledge of the basic processes controlling normal organogenesis will facilitate our understanding of disease. Our goal is to dissect the specific stepwise molecular processes that make each organ unique and perfect. Our major research interests are the forebrain, visual system and the lymphatic vasculature and to address those questions we use a combination of animal models and 3D organ culture systems, stem cells and iPS cells.

Related to the lymphatic vasculature, our lab identified years ago the first specific marker for lymphatic endothelial cells and generated the first mouse model devoid of lymphatics. We have characterized many of the critical steps leading to the formation of the lymphatic vasculature. We have also reported that a defective lymphatic vasculature can cause obesity in mice and we are currently trying to determine whether this is also valid in humans.

In case of the central nervous system, our focus is to characterize how complex structures such as the forebrain and eye are formed. For that we have started to apply 3D organ culture systems derived from stem cell and iPS that allow us to grow eyes in a petri dish. Using this approach we expect to dissect the genes and mechanisms controlling these developmental processes.

For more information, visit Dr. Oliver’s faculty profile or visit the Guillermo Oliver Lab Site.


View Dr. Olivers's publications at PubMed


Email Dr. Oliver

Phone 312-503-1651

 Susan Quaggin Lab

Uncovering the molecular mechanisms of diabetic vascular complications, thrombotic microangiopathy, glomerular diseases and glaucoma

Our lab focuses on the basic biology of vascular tyrosine kinase signaling in development and diseases of the blood and lymphatic vasculature.  Our projects include uncovering the molecular mechanisms of diabetic vascular complications, thrombotic microangiopathy, glomerular diseases and glaucoma.  Utilizing a combination of mouse genetic, cell biologic and proteomic approaches, we have identified key roles for Angiopoietin-Tie2 and VEGF signaling in these diseases.  Members of the lab are developing novel therapeutic agents that target these pathways.  

Faculty Profile

Susan Quaggin, MD

 Beatriz Sosa-Pineda Lab

Role of homeodomain-containing transcription factors in pancreas and liver organogenesis

Research Description

My lab investigates mechanisms that establish the complex architecture of 2 vital mammalian organs, the pancreas and liver. Our past studies produced some unique mouse models that helped us begin dissecting the role of homeodomain-containing transcription factors in pancreas and liver organogenesis. Also, these mouse models helped us identify potential new regulators of pancreas and liver cell fate and morphogenesis.

In addition to using mouse models, our current studies incorporate other methods to better address specific questions related to pancreas and liver formation. For instance, we grow ex-vivo explants of mouse embryonic tissues to study pancreas branching morphogenesis or hepatoblast delamination in a dish. We also use in silico and bioinformatics tools to uncover molecular pathways and transcriptional networks regulating pancreas and liver cell specification and differentiation. More recently, we began using protocols of ESCs and iPSCs differentiation to interrogate the function of our genes of interest in early endoderm development or hepatopancreas cell fate specification. Ultimately, my lab will use the knowledge gained from our mouse investigations to address mechanisms of early human pancreas and liver development in organoid and iPS/ESC cultures.

Our studies will generate novel mechanistic information on how specific transcription factors regulate progenitor specification, morphogenesis and cellular plasticity in the murine pancreas, and how altered homeobox gene activity contributes to pancreatic and liver diseases. I also predict that novel key regulators of early hepatic morphogenesis, hepatocyte cell fate, and liver zonation will be identified.

For more information, visit the faculty profile of Beatriz Sosa-Pineda, PhD or the Sosa-Pineda lab web site.


View Dr. Sosa-Pineda's publications at PubMed


Email Dr. Sosa-Pineda

Phone 312-503-2296

 Edward Thorp Lab

The Thorp laboratory studies how immune cells coordinate tissue repair and regeneration under low oxygen, such as after a heart attack.

Research Interests

The Edward Thorp Lab studies the crosstalk between immune cells and the cardiovascular system, and in particular, within tissues characterized by low oxygen tension or associated with dyslipidemia, such as during myocardial infarction. In vivo, the lab interrogates the function of innate immune cell phagocytes, including macrophages, as they interact with other resident parenchymal cells during tissue repair and regeneration. Within the phagocyte, the influence of hypoxia and inflammation on intercellular and intracellular signaling networks and phagocyte function are studied in molecular detail. Taken together, our approach seeks to discover and link basic molecular and physiological networks that causally regulate disease progression, and in turn are amenable to strategies for the amelioration of cardiovascular disease.


For additional information, visit the Thorp Lab site or view the faculty profile of Edward B Thorp, PhD.

View Dr. Thorp's publications at PubMed


Contact the Thorp lab at 312-503-3140.

Lab Staff

Shirley Dehn
PhD student

Xin-Yi Yeap, MS
Lab Manager and Microsurgery

 Lisa Wilsbacher Lab

The Wilsbacher Lab investigates the roles of G protein-coupled receptors in heart development and disease.

Dr. Wilsbacher's research focuses on cardiac development and cardiomyocyte maintenance in the setting of pathological stress. Currently, the laboratory investigates the G protein-coupled receptor sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1) and its unexpected role in cardiomyocyte proliferation and cardiac development. Dr. Wilsbacher’s research aims to identify the signaling mechanisms that underlie these cardiac developmental effects and their potential roles in congenital heart disease. In addition, the laboratory explores whether and how S1P1 signaling contributes to cardiac remodeling in the adult heart, particularly in the setting of cardiac fibrosis.


View lab publications via PubMed.

For more information, visit Dr. Wilsbacher's faculty profile or visit the Lisa Wilsbacher Lab Site.

Contact Us

Contact Dr. Wilsbacher at 312-503-6880 or the Wilsbacher Lab at 312-503-5309.

Lab Staff

Jayne Wolfe
Research Technologist II

Bisheng Zhou
Postdoctoral Fellow