I have extensive experience in the field of vascular biology and the process of angiogenesis. In particular, my lab has studied the role of notch signaling in vascular development and we were the first to demonstrate the role of notch in regulating tip cell function during angiogenic sprouting. Recently, we have used Mass Spec to identify proteins secreted by fibroblasts that support endothelial cell sprouting and lumen formation during angiogenesis. I am co-director of the Oncoimaging and Biotechnology Program – a part of the NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCI – and am heading a team that recently submitted a PO1 application on cellular cross-talk in the colon cancer microenvironment. We are currently collaborating with Steve George and Abe Lee in Biomedical Engineering to generate vascularized in vitro tissues. Thus I and my lab have expertise in angiogenesis, cancer biology, gene expression studies, and development of vascularized constructs. I have a joint appointment in Biomedical Engineering and am on the Leadership Council for the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology. I am also a member of the HHT Foundation Global Research and Medical Advisory Board. I have mentored 12 Ph.D. students doing their thesis work in my lab and numerous rotation students. I have also successfully mentored several post-doctoral fellows.
Christopher C. W. Hughes
Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of California, Irvine
High throughput drug screening using in vitro vascularized microtumors
We have developed a radically new bio-engineering approach to drug screening that employs arrayed human 3D microtumors, supported by perfused capillaries. Tumor cells growing within a small chamber filled with complex extra-cellular matrix and stromal cells are nourished by a network of newly-formed capillaries that are connected to an artificial arteriovenous system. Multiple chambers can be arranged on a single chip, each with its own vascular supply, thereby allowing for development of a high-throughput drug screening (HTS) platform. Tumor lines can be used for drug-discovery, or patient-specific tumor cells for personalized screening. This system provides an ideal compromise between the simplicity of tissue culture and the complexities of mouse models.