Vascular and Reproductive Biology

Vascular and Reproductive Biology - banner image

Group leader:  Dr Peter Hewett


The growth and maintenance of blood vessels is essential for normal development and health. We are investigating the mechanisms by which these processes are perturbed in diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and some common disorders of pregnancy.

Our research group

In the adult, angiogenesis and vascular remodelling is essential for wound healing, preparation of the uterine lining for blastocyst implantation and successful pregnancy. Our research interests encompass various aspects of the molecular regulation and activity of the vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), angiopoietins and their receptors, which play key roles in both angiogenesis and vascular homeostasis. Many conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and problems of pregnancy are characterised by an altered response to angiogenic factors and/or endothelial cell activation/dysfunction. The aberrant expression of angiogenic factors in these pathologies is often associated with poor outcome and may represent a target for therapy. Using various cell based models and transgenic approaches to manipulate gene expression we are trying to dissect the signalling and transcriptional events leading to altered growth factor activity and endothelial function.

Vascular and Reproductive Biology - Research description

Current Projects

  • Identification of pathways controlling vascular growth factor activity in the endothelium following insults such as hyperglycaemia and ischemia
  • Factors affecting implantation and early development of the placenta
  • Molecular mechanisms regulating the balance of angiogenic factors underlying poor placentation and maternal endothelial dysfunction in preeclampsia

Recent Publications

For full publication lists see:


Principal Investigator
Dr Peter Hewett

Internal Collaborators
Dr Jorge Caamano
Dr Sarah Conner
Dr Ana-Maria Gonzalez
Dr Padma-Sheela Jayaraman
Dr Trish Lalor
Professor Ed Rainger
Dr Abd Tahrani
Dr Jeremy Tomlinson

External Collaborators
Professor Asif Ahmed - School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
Professor Stuart Egginton - The Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Leeds, UK
Dr Bahjat Al-Ani - King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia
Dr Steve Russell - School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
Dr Samir Sissaoui - University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA