Omaida C. Velazquez

University of Miami, USA


Omaida C. Velazquez holds an M.D. degree. She is the Vice Chair of Research, a Professor of surgery with tenure, and the David Kimmelman Endowed Chair in vascular and endovascular surgery, DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, University of Miami. She is the Principal Investigator of an NIH-funded translational research laboratory that investigates endothelial cell biology, angiogenesis, vasculogenesis, wound healing, and atherosclerosis. She is currently the PI of two NIH R01 and three sponsored clinical trials that focus on further understanding and advancing new treatments for lower extremity arterial occlusive disease, diabetes-related wound healing defects, and atherosclerosis-related occlusive and aneurysm diseases. As a physician scientist, she has made several seminal contributions in the areas of angiogenesis, vasculogenesis, and wound healing. Early in hercareer at the University of Pennsylvania, she reported two highly significant findings: (1) the survival and morphologic differentiation of human microvascular endothelial cells into capillaries is dependent upon direct cell-cell contact with dermal fibroblasts and that, surprisingly, replacing the fibroblasts with a number of malignant melanoma cells does not accomplish the same survival and differentiation effects on the endothelial cells, and (2) the signals mediating this fibroblast-endothelial crosstalk are dependant on a synergistic cell-matrix-cell interaction made possible by vascular endothelial growth hormone (VEGF-A) and the Integrin V3 and further amplified via N-Ras and PI3-K intracellular signaling cascades. For this work, she was presented with the von Liebig Foundation Award for Excellence in Vascular Surgical Research.

Biography Updated on 5 March 2012

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