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Petrova Tatiana



Tatiana Petrova received her M.Sc in chemistry from Moscow State University in 1990 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Geneva in 1996. She did a post-doctoral work at Northwestern University in Chicago from 1997 to 1999, and then moved to a second postdoctoral position at the University of Helsinki, Finland. In 2004 she became a group leader at Molecular Cancer Biology Program at the Univerisity of Helsinki, and in 2008 joined the Division of Experimental Oncology at CePO, CHUV and University of Lausanne as an SNF assistant professor. The research in the group focuses on the mechanisms of vascular development and cancer.



We are interested in  the transcriptional regulation of cell differentiation and the role of transcription factors in human diseases, such as cancer and lymphedema.

One of our projects deals with the mechanisms of cancer progression. The initiating envents, such as loss of APC in colon cancer, frequently lead to the development of benign tumors, and in humans many years are required for the transition towards the malignant phenotype. We have shown recently that a transcription factor PR0X1 plays an important role in this process via the regulation of cell adhesion and polarity program. We believe that this knowledge is important for our understanding of gastro-intestinal cancers and could provide novel targets for therapy in these diseases. We are currently working on the mechanistic understanding of PROX1-regulated transcriptional netword in cancer and producing mouse models, which will be used to characterize normal and cancer intestinal progenitor and stem cells.

Second project concerns the mechanisms of lymphatic vascular development and remodelling. The lymphatic vascular system plays important roles in the  removal of interstitial fluid, antigen presentation and the uptake of dietary fat. Damaged or absent lymph vessels lead to tissue swelling or lymphedema. Our main goal is to understand the processes of lymphatic vascular remodelling and formation of the mature lymphatic vascular netword comprising capillaries and collecting vessels. We are studying the fork head transcription factor FOXC2, which plays an important role in specifying collecting or capillary lymphatic vessel type in mammals. FOXC2 occurs in a mutated form in humans with the hereditary lymphatic vessel disease lymphoedema-distichiasis (LD). LD is characterized by late onset swelling of the legs and a double row of eyelashes (distichiasis), which is sometimes combined with cardiovascular or other defects. In addition, we have recently discovered that NFAT/calcineurin pathway contributes to lymphatic vascular development. Current research in the lab focuses on identificaion of FOXC2 target genes, analysis of in vivo models with tissue-specific inactivation of NFAT/calcineurin pathway and functional characterization of novel regulators of (lymph) angiogenesis.


Mouse molecular  genetics, ex-vivo organ culture, molecular imaging, gene expression profiling, genome wide ChIP-chip and ChIP-seq. 

Key words

Transcription, differentiation, cancer stem cells, intestinal and vascular development, lymphedema, cancer.




Full list of publications

Selected publications:


Main collaborations

Kari Alitalo                        University of Helsinki, Finland

Mauro Delorenzi                Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics in Lausanne, Switzerland 

Stefan Schulte-Merker       Hubrecht Institute, Netherlands

Seppo Ylä-Herttuala          University of Kuopio, Finland

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