Olga Volpert

Northwestern University, USA

Olga Volpert is currently an Associate Professor and O'Conor Family Chair at Urology Department, Northwestern University, Ill, USA. She graduated from Moscow State University (former USSR) in 1983 and received a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and cancer cell biology in 1997. She is a Member of AACR and NAVBO. She is also a Chief Scientific Officer for a biotech company, Vascular Solutions Inc, Minn, USA. Her expertise is in cellular and molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis and endothelial cell biology. Her key discoveries include the regulation of angiogenesis by tumor suppressor genes and the interactions between the pro- and antiangiogenic proteins in controlling angiogenic switch. She has participated in the discovery of two major angiogenesis inhibitors. Dr. Volpert showed that natural angiogenesis inhibitors act by inducing apoptosis in the remodeling of vascular endothelium and identified the main signaling intermediates of this response. Dr. Volpert also defined transcriptional network controlling angiogenic switch, which includes NFAT, NFkB, and PPARg, where proangiogenic NFAT is activated by angiogenesis inhibitors, while PPARg and NFkB are sequentially activated. Dr. Volpert’s lab contributed to the discovery and development of antiangiogenic peptide mimetics of the natural angiogenesis inhibitors. One of these peptides, a mimetic of Thrombospondin-1 developed in collaboration with Abbot Labs, is tested in Phase I and II clinical trials and considered for the treatment of tumor angiogenesis and vascular pathologies of the eye and female reproductive tract. Recent studies from Volpert group involve epigenetic angiogenesis regulation, in particular the role of microRNA. They have isolated a panel of miRNA that promote angiogenesis by blocking endothelial tip cells, which guide neovascular sprouts in the direction of angiogenic growth factors and defined their critical targets, the ligands Notch receptor family and Sprouty family proteins, the inhibitors of MAP kinase signaling.

Biography Updated on 8 December 2011

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