Brant Weinstein's Section on Vertebrate Organogenesis studies blood and lymphatic vessel formation during vertebrate embryogenesis. Vessel formation is of intense clinical interest because of the roles blood and lymphatic vessels play in cancer and ischemia. Using the zebrafish, the group developed a now widely used confocal microangiography method, compiled an atlas of the vasculature, developed numerous vascular-specific transgenic lines, and pioneered methods for high-resolution in vivo imaging of blood vessels. The group discovered a novel pathway of artery specification, a role for neuronal guidance factors in vascular patterning, and a mechanism for vascular tube formation in vivo. Weinstein and his colleagues also identified the lymphatic vascular system in zebrafish. Current studies use genetic screening, experimental analysis, and imaging to examine cues directing vascular patterning and morphogenesis, regulation of vascular integrity, and assembly of the lymphatic system.
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