Dr. Wight's lab is committed to understanding the molecular mechanisms of vascular and other diseases that involve the extracellular matrix macromolecules, proteoglycans and hyaluronan. Special emphasis is given to exploring how these extracellular matrix molecules influence cellular phenotype. His major projects include:
1. Defining the role that proteoglycans play in vascular disease including atherosclerosis and restenosis, diseases of the lung such as asthma and autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes. Special emphasis is placed on how these extracellular matrix molecules influence events associated with inflammation.
2. Developing the use of proteoglycan genes and products of those genes to bioengineer vascular tissue in order to maintain normal vasculature structure. Specific projects include evaluating the mechanism(s) by which proteoglycans influence extracellular matrix assembly such as formation of elastic fibers.
3. Developing “designer extracellular matrices” to be used in the treatment and engineering of tissues destroyed by trauma and/or disease.