Annette M. Gonzalez
University/Institution: Northwestern University
Hometown: Calexico, CA
Grant Name: NCI Career Development Award (KO1)
Research Interests: Angiogenesis, Cancer, Integrins, Signal transduction, Cardiovascular
Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Jones
I received my doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I combined biochemistry, molecular biology and pharmacology to characterize hormone activated G-protein coupled receptor and transmembrane growth factor receptor- mediated signal transduction in isolated cardiac myocytes, cardiac fibroblasts and in A431 cells, an epithelial carcinoma derived cell line.
I pursued post-doctoral training in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University where I rose to the rank of Research Assistant Professor. My research focus is centered on the role of the a4 laminin subunit, a major constituent of the basement membranes of blood vessels, in promoting tumor angiogenesis. My work has led to the identification of the a4 laminin as a major regulator of angiogenesis by interacting with the avb3 integrin heterodimer. These interactions are, in turn, regulated by a signaling crosstalk between b1-containing integrins and protein kinase A with the avb3 integrin heterodimer. I plan to unravel the signaling mechanisms underlying a4 laminin dependent angiogenesis.
Recently, I have begun an exciting new project. I am very interested in characterizing the signaling pathways that are involved in either enhancing or blocking the differentiation process of endothelial precursor cells to endothelial cells. Endothelial precursor cells have been implicated in the development of new blood vessels during normal and pathological angiogenesis. However, the mechanism and extracellular signals that initiate this process are poorly understood.
My future plan is to obtain an independent position at a university and lead my own research team.