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NextGen Cardiovascular, Muscle, & Metabolism Science Seminar – November 10, 2023

The goal of the NextGen Cardiovascular, Muscle & Metabolism Science Seminar is to highlight transdisciplinary precision research taking place in cardiovascular, muscle and metabolism fields; provide opportunities for collaboration among researchers to build their own research efforts; and promote clinical/researcher activity across the University of Missouri System and our partners.

The Franklin Endowed Lecture was created by the family and friends of Dean Franklin, former director of Dalton Cadiovascular Research Center (1980-1990), to commemorate Franklin's many contributions to cardiovascular science by highlighting new innovations and research in the field.

For questions about this event, please reach out to Veronica Lemme

"How to Build a Blood Vessel: Mechanical and Instructive Signals from the Vascular Extracellular Matrix"

Speaker: Robert Mecham, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine 

Date: Nov. 10, 2023, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Location: Tom and Linda Atkins Family Seminar Room, Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building


The cardiovascular system is the first “organ system” to form during development. Before the heart begins to beat, endothelial cells move through the embryo, creating an interconnected tubular network that defines the vascular pattern. As the heart matures, blood pressure and pulsatile blood flow increase, and smooth muscle cell (SMC) progenitors are recruited to the vessel wall in response to these hemodynamic signals. SMCs in large conducting vessels secrete and organize the extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins that define the mechanical properties of the vessel wall. By introducing mutations associated with vascular disease in humans into mouse genes for ECM proteins, we have gained insight into mechanisms whereby changes in the extracellular microenvironment cause cardiovascular disease.

About the SpeakerRobert Mecham

Dr. Robert Mecham is the Alumni Endowed Professor Emeritus of Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University School of Medicine. He holds joint appointments at the professorial level in medicine, pediatrics and bioengineering. Dr. Mecham received his Bachelor of Science in biology at the University of Utah in 1973, where he developed an interest in the extracellular matrix. He continued these studies during his graduate work at Boston University School of Medicine, where he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1977. Dr. Mecham was recruited to Washington University in St. Louis that same year, where his research focused on extracellular matrix and tissue remodeling. After a sabbatical year at the National Institutes of Health as a visiting scientist, Dr. Mecham returned to the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University where his laboratory continued to study extracellular matrix structure and related diseases.


NextGen Precision Health & the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center