CPI Academy Speaker Julian Wagner
Julian is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration at the Goethe-University Frankfurt.
Endothelial cells form the inner lining of all blood vessels, what is called the vasculature. In addition to providing a barrier that prevents vascular leakage, endothelial cells interact with neighboring cells and secrete factors into the blood stream that are pumped through the body by the cardiovascular system. My research aims to determine how endothelial cells interact with cardiac cells in health and disease, which will give us insight on how to tackle age-related cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.
Deciphering endothelial communication in the aging heart
My major research interest includes the intercellular communication within the aged and diseased heart, by focusing in particular on the vascular niche, the microenvironment of blood vessels. In my previous studies, we described that aging deteriorates the blood vessel endothelium on both autocrine and paracrine levels. Whereas the aging cardiac endothelium switches its basement membrane composition and thereby self-impairs vessel integrity, cardiac fibroblasts signal to endothelial cells by releasing senescence-associated factors and additionally disturb endothelial function. To further investigate these observations mechanistically, we established a contracting three-dimensional cell culture system that resembles the cellular composition of the heart in vitro. Currently, we use state-of the art single-cell approaches as well as inducible and constitutive transgenic mouse lines to investigate molecular and cellular interactomes of the aging heart, and in particular interactions of cardiac cells with lymphatic vessels and the autonomic nervous system.