Our lab investigates cell adhesion mechanisms, and how alterations in adhesion signaling lead to various cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. In particular, we are interested in studying how blood cells, especially neutrophils adhere to blood vessels and how the dysfunction of their interactions causes inflammation and immune diseases.
Neutrophils are often the first immune cells to reach sites of inflammation, where they release cytotoxic species that kill bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. Exacerbated inflammation causes collateral tissue damage and is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as inflammatory heart disease and stroke. Integrins are transmembrane receptors that control cell adhesion and migration to inflammatory tissues. Such control is particularly important in the vasculature, where dynamic blood flow physically opposes cell attachment. β2 integrins are expressed in all leukocyte populations. We strive to gain a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms of leukocyte integrin activation in inflammation.