Robert P. Mecham, PhD
Alumni Endowed Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology
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Washington University in St. Louis (WU)
My research focuses on cardiovascular development and blood vessel function. Of particular interest is delineating how mutations in genes that encode extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins lead to human inherited diseases, including vascular aneurysms, stenosis, and pulmonary and systemic hypertension. I have had a long-standing interest in understanding how ECM macromolecules assemble into complex polymers in the extracellular space, and how ECM influences the phenotype of cells, including the role of ECM in initiating differentiation and in maintaining appropriate gene expression. Using knockout and transgenic mice, I study how the overexpression or under-expression of key vascular wall proteins influences vascular mechanics and cardiac function.