Robert B. Vernon, PhD
Research Associate Member
Dr. Vernon received his bachelor’s degree in Biology/Zoology from the University of Washington and received his PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Washington in 1985. He was a postdoctoral fellow and, later, a faculty member in the Department of Biological Structure at the University of Washington School of Medicine from 1985-1999. Subsequently, he joined the Hope Heart Institute in Seattle and, in 2004, became a Research Associate Member at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.
Areas of Research
Extracellular matrix is the complex substance outside of cells that provides structural support to living tissues. Dr. Vernon’s laboratory focuses on understanding how extracellular matrix regulates cell behavior – in particular, the behavior of cells that participate in tumor growth (e.g., endothelial cells of blood vessels) and in wound repair (e.g., fibroblasts of connective tissue). Additionally, his laboratory is developing functional replacements for diseased, injured, or lost tissues. These engineered tissues are comprised of cells that are grown in contact with supportive scaffolds made from natural extracellular matrix molecules (e.g., collagen). The scaffolds are specially configured to promote the survival, organization, and function of the resident cells and to limit rejection and scar formation by the patient. Engineered tissues under development include replacements for blood vessels, ligaments, skin, and – for treatment of diabetes – the endocrine pancreas.
Vernon RB, Gooden MD, Lara SL, Wight TN (2005). Native fibrillar collagen membranes of micron-scale and submicron thicknesses for cell support and perfusion. Biomaterials 26:1109–1117.
Vernon RB, Gooden MD, Lara SL, Wight TN (2005). Microgrooved fibrillar collagen membranes as scaffolds for cell support and alignment. Biomaterials 26:3131–3140.
Reed MJ, Karres N, Eyman D, Vernon RB (2007). Culture of murine explants in 3-dimensional extracellular matrix: a novel, miniaturized assay of angiogenesis in vitro. Microvasc. Res. 73: 248-252.
Damodarasamy M, Vernon RB, Bianchi-Frias D, Nelson PS, Reed MJ (2010) Collagen extracts derived from young and aged mice demonstrate different structural properties and cellular effects in 3-dimensional gels. J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci. 65: 209-18. PMCID: PMC2822284
Keire PA, L’Heureux N, Vernon RB, Merrilees MJ, Starcher B, Okon E, Dusserre N, McAllister TN, Wight TN (2010) Expression of versican isoform V3 in the absence of ascorbate improves elastogenesis in engineered vascular constructs. Tissue Eng. 16: 501-512. PMCID: PMC2813184
Bollyky PL, Wu RP, Falk BA, Lord JD, Long SA, Preisinger A, Teng B, Holt GE, Standifer NE, Braun KR, Xie CF, Samuels PL, Vernon RB, Gebe JA, Wight TN, Nepom GT (2011) ECM components guide IL-10 producing regulatory T-cell (TR1) induction from effector memory T-cell precursors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 108: 7938-7943. PMCID: PMC3093524
Reed MJ, Damodarasamy M, Vernon RB (2011) Angiogenesis in vitro utilizing murine vascular explants in miniaturized 3-dimensional collagen gels. The Open Circulation and Vascular Journal (TOCVJ). 4:12-17. Open Access
Vernon RB, Preisinger A, Gooden MD, D’Amico LA, Yue BB, Bollyky PL, Kuhr CS, Hefty TR, Nepom GT, Gebe JA (2012) Reversal of diabetes in mice with a bioengineered islet implant incorporating a type I collagen hydrogel and sustained release of vascular endothelial growth factor. Cell Transplant. 21: 2099-2010. Open Access
Reed MJ, Vernon RB (2012) Miniaturized assays of angiogenesis in vitro. Methods Mol. Biol. 843: 87-98. PMCID: In process