Wight Laboratory

Ingrid Harten, Michael Kinsella, Kathleen Braun, Christina Chan, Inkyung Kang, Thomas Wight, Pamela Johnson, Susan Perigo

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.

Monocytes (blue) binding to cables containing the ECM molecule hyaluronan (green).

  1. 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.
  1. Developing “designer extracellular matrices” to be used in the treatment and engineering of tissues destroyed by trauma and/or disease.  Special emphasis is given the engineering of small blood vessels as replacement parts for diseased coronary arteries and in the design of implants containing stem cells that differentiate into insulin-producing cells for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Heavily inflamed pancreatic islet, stained for the ECM molecule hyaluronan (brown).

Laboratory Members

Thomas Wight, PhD
Christina Chan
Ingrid Harten, PhD
Inkyung Kang, PhD
Marika Bogdani, MD, PhD
Pamela Johnson, PhD
Stephen Evanko, PhD
Prasanthi Malapati, PhD
Gail Workman 

Matrix Biology Program