Our group identifies and characterises key transcriptional pathways that modulate lymphatic vascular development in the mouse embryo. We aim to translate discoveries in pre-clinical mouse models of cancer or lymphedema, to validate the central role of developmental programs, re-activated under these pathological conditions. Ultimately, we aim to develop a novel class of compounds that will enable the pharmacological management of the lymphatics, with a view to both better understanding healthy vascular development and finding potential new drugs to treat disease.

Our team uses a pipeline of assays, ranging from in vitro analysis (fluorescence polarisation, cell-based assays) to in vivo mouse models (melanoma xenograft), and we collaborate with other IMB scientists and international research groups, who are experts in zebrafish biology, medicinal chemistry and in vivo live imaging.

Traineeships, honours and PhD projects include

  • Analysis of the transcriptional network that governs lymphatic endothelial cell fate (mouse genetics)
  • Molecular characterisation of the embryonic pathways re-activated in lymphatics during cancer metastasis (pre-clinical models)
  • Validation of novel molecular targets and assessment of their druggability to develop novel anti-cancer agents.

Project members

Group Leader

Associate Professor Mathias Francois

Group Leader, Genomics of Development and Disease Division
Principal Research Fellow
Institute for Molecular Bioscience