Robert B. Vernon, PhD
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.
Area 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), in wound repair (e.g., fibroblasts of connective tissue), and in responses of the immune system. 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. A particularly exciting project focuses on the development of a replacement for the endocrine pancreas to treat type 1 diabetes. This Bioengineered Islet Implant places insulin-producing islets of Langerhans in contact with specific extracellular matrix molecules and bioactive factors selected to promote islet survival and function, islet vascularization and immune tolerance to the graft.
Vernon RB, Gooden MD, Preisinger A, Gebe JA. Controlled release of monoclonal antibodies from poly-L-lysine-coated alginate spheres within a scaffolded implant mitigates autoimmune responses to transplanted islets and limits systemic antibody toxicity. Mat Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 93:390-398, 2018.
Gebe JA, Preisinger A, Gooden MD, D’Amico LA, Vernon RB. Local, controlled release in vivo of vascular endothelial growth factor within a subcutaneous scaffolded islet implant reduces early islet necrosis and improves performance of the graft. Cell Transplant. 27(3):531-541, 2018.
Reed MJ, Damodarasamy M, Pathan J, Erickson MA, Banks WA, Vernon RB. The effects of normal aging on regional accumulation of hyaluronan and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in the mouse brain. J Histochem Cytochem. In Press, 2018.
Reed MJ, Vernon RB, Damodarasamy M, Chan CK, Wight TN, Bentov I, Banks WA (2017) Microvasculature of the mouse cerebral cortex exhibits increased accumulation and synthesis of hyaluronan with aging. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 72:740-746 2017. PMCID: PMC6075594
Nagy N, Kaber G, Johnson P, Gebe JA, Preisinger A, Falk BA, Sunkari VG, Gooden MD, Vernon RB, Bogdani M, Kuipers HF, Day AJ, Campbell DJ, Wight TN, Bollyky PL. Inhibition of hyaluronan synthesis restores immune tolerance during autoimmune insulitis. J Clin Invest. 25:3928-40, 2016. PMCID: PMC4607113
Damodarasamy M, Vernon RB, Chan CK, Plymate SR, Wight TN, Reed MJ. Hyaluronan in aged collagen matrix increases prostate epithelial cell proliferation. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol (Animal). 51:50-8, 2015. PMCID: PMC4571456
Damodarasamy M, Johnson R, Bentov I, MacCoss, M, Vernon RB, Reed MJ. Hyaluronan enhances wound repair and increases collagen III in aged dermal wounds. Wound Repair Regen. 22:521-526, 2014. PMCID: PMC4822517
Obika M, Vernon RB, Gooden MD, Braun KR, Chan CK, Wight TN. ADAMTS-4 and biglycan are expressed at high levels and co-localize to podosomes during endothelial cell tubulogenesis in vitro. J Histochem Cytochem. 62:34-49, 2014. PMCID: PMC3873805
Bollyky PL, Vernon RB, Falk, BA, Preisinger A, Gooden MD, Nepom GT, Gebe JA. IL-10 induction from implants delivering pancreatic islets and hyaluronan. J Diabetes Res. 2013: 342479, 2013. PMCID: PMC3736405
Reed MJ, Damodarasamy M, Chan CK, Johnson MNR, Wight TN, Vernon RB. Cleavage of hyaluronan is impaired in aged dermal wounds. Matrix Biol. 32:45-51, 2013. PMCID: PMC3570623
Reed MJ, Vernon RB. Miniaturized assays of angiogenesis in vitro. Methods Mol. Biol. 843: 87-98, 2012. PMCID PMC4136681
Vernon RB, Preisinger A, Gooden MD, D’Amico LA, Yue BB, Bollyky PL, Kuhr CS, Hefty TR, Nepom GT, Gebe JA. 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: 2099-2110, 2012. PMCID: PMC3829609
Reed MJ, Damodarasamy M, Vernon RB. Angiogenesis in vitro utilizing murine vascular explants in miniaturized 3-dimensional collagen gels. Open Circ. Vasc. J. (TOCVJ), 4:12-17, 2011. PMCID: PMC3972018
Bollyky PL, Wu RP, Falk BA, Lord JD, Long SA, Preisinger A, Teng B, Holt GE, Standifer NE, Braun KR, Xie C, Samuels PL, Vernon RB, Gebe JA, Wight TN, Nepom GT. ECM components guide TR1 regulatory T-cell induction from effector memory T-cell precursors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108:7938-43, 2011. PMCID: PMC3093524