Barry M. Gumbiner, PhD, a research professor in the Department of Cell Biology, was awarded an NIH R01 for $2.4 million to study mechanisms controlling endothelial junctions and vascular permeability. Monoclonal antibodies that activate vascular-endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) and reduce endothelial permeability will be used to investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating permeability as well as the role that VE-cadherin plays in controlling vascular leakiness in inflammatory processes and diseases. Such antibodies, and/or the knowledge gained from studying them, may eventually be useful as therapeutics for controlling disease processes such as sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, macular edema, inflammatory bowel disease, and others.
Dr. Gumbiner is an emeritus professor of cell biology at UVA where he served as chair of the Department of Cell Biology from 2002-2015, before moving to Seattle to pursue his research program for the past 7 years at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. He recently returned to Charlottesville and UVA to lead this new project based on conceptual findings on basic cadherin biology that were discovered by his group while at UVA initially and extended to include VE-cadherin and control of endothelial permeability while in Seattle. Dr. Gumbiner is currently recruiting a team and engaging collaborators to pursue this project.