Vascular and tumor biology

| Research interest | Research group projects | Selected publications


Associate Professor
Ludwig adjunct scientist
Laboratory T. Petrova
Department of oncology UNIL CHUV
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Lausanne

Phone +41 21 314 29 68

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Research interest

Our main research interest are the mechanisms of tissue- and disease-specific functions of lymphatic and blood vessels.  To study this question, ourgroup combines expertise in advanced animal models with high resolution imaging, diverse cellular models and analyses of human patient samples.

Research group projects

Mechanisms and novel effectors of (lymph)angiogenesis.

Lymphatic vasculature is a key player in the maintenance of normal fluid balance and immunity. It is also important in many common human diseases, such as cancer and chronic inflammatory conditions. Our aim is to identify central regulators of lymphatic vascular development and to study the impact of lymphatic vascular dysfunction on immunity and cancer. We employ tissue-specific inducible genetic animal models, ex vivo characterization of endothelial cells and analyses of patient samples.

Organ-/cancer-specific vasculature and its cross-talk with stem cells.

Blood-and-brain barrier and liver sinusoidal vasculature are examples of highly specialized vascular beds.  Such specialization is essential for the normal organ function, for example to restrict the diffusion of certain components of blood to cerebrospinal fluid, and it is frequently affected in pathological conditions. However, with a notable exception of blood-and-brain barrier, our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying organ-specific vascular specialization and its role in human diseases is fragmentary. Even less is known about how such specialization affects the formation of primary or metastatic tumors, and whether it contributes to the maintenance of cancer stem cells. Using colon cancer as a model, we study stromal regulation of tissue- and cancer-specific stem cells. Our final goal is to define new strategies for targeting stem cells in colon tumors.

Biomechanical forces in normal and diseased vessels.

Endothelial cells are continuously subjected to a variety of forces, such as shear fluid shear stress, stretch and transmural flow. In collaboration with bioengineers, we study how endothelial cells transmit and respond to biomechanical forces. Better understanding how biomechanical and biochemical stimuli are perceived and interpreted by vessels in normal and diseased tissues is important for targeting and regulation of vascular function. 


Selected publications

  1. De Palma*, M., Biziato, D., & Petrova*. T,V. Microenvironmental regulation of tumour angiogenesis. Nat Rev Cancer, doi: 10.1038/nrc.2017.51 (2017).
  2. Bernier-Latmani, J.,&Petrova, T.V. Intestinal lymphatic vessels: organization, mechanisms and functions Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol,  doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2017.79. (2017)
  3. Bernier-Latmani, J., Cisarovsky, C., Saygili Demir, C., Bruand, M., Jaquet, M., Davanture, S., Ragusa, S., Siegert, S., Dormond, O., Benedito, R., Radtke, F., Luther, S.A., & Petrova, T.V. DLL4 promotes continuous adult intestinal lacteal regeneration and dietary fat transport.  J. Clin. Invest., doi: 10.1172/JCI82045, (2015). Cover story.
  4. Sabine, A., Bovay, E., Saygili Demir, C., Kimura, W., Jaquet, M., Agalarov, Y., Zangger, N., Scallan, J.P., Graber, W., Gulpinar, E., Mäkinen, T., Martinez-Corral, I., Ortega, S., Delorenzi, M., Kiefer, F., Davis, M.J., Djonov, V., Miura, N., Petrova, T.V. Foxc2 and fluid shear stress stabilize postnatal lymphatic vasculatureJ. Clin. Invest. 125, 3861-77, (2015). Ranked “Outstanding” by F1000
  5. Ragusa, S., Cheng, J., Ivanov, K.I., Zangger, N., Ceteci, F.,Bernier-Latmani, J., Milatos, S., Joseph,J.-M., Tercier, S.,Bouzourene, H., Bosman, F., Letovanec, I., Marra, G., Gonzalez, M., Cammareri,M., Sansom, O., Delorenzi, M., Petrova T.V., PROX1 promotes metabolic adaptation and fuels outgrowth of Wnthigh metastatic colon cancer cells . Cell Reports, 8, 1957-73. (2014)


Group members

  • Céline BEAUVERD
    Postdoctoral fellow
  • Esther BOVAY
    PhD student
  • Christophe CISAROVSKY
    PhD student
    Laboratory manager
  • Stefanie HENDRIKX
    PhD student
  • Alejandra  LOYOLA GONZALEZ
    Postdoctoral fellow
  • Borja PRAT
    PhD student
  • Simone RAGUSA
    Postdoctoral fellow
  • Amélie SABINE
    Research associate
  • Cansaran SAYGILI
    PhD student
  • Laureline WETTERWALD
    PhD student
Ch. des Boveresses 155 - CH-1066 Epalinges
Tel. +41 21 692 59 92
Fax +41 21 692 59 95
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