Dynamic control of vascular growth and function

We aim to discover what causes vessels to grow abnormally and leak in diseases such as diabetes, cancer and atherosclerosis

The research within the Vessel Dynamics lab is focused on the formation and maintenance of the blood and lymphatic vascular systems.

Vessels form complex branched networks that supply oxygen and nutrients to all body tissues.

The signals controlling blood vessel expansion, identity and migration are all downstream of a single, common complex at the cell surface, yet exactly how this diverse range of functions is differentially regulated, depending on the physiological need, remains unknown.

The specific focus of our research is to determine the precise molecular signals that control endothelial cell interactions within the vessel wall and the surrounding environment.

If the signals controlling cell adhesion become deregulated, normal vessel growth and function is lost.

This contributes to the progression of a wide range of human diseases, including cancer growth and metastasis, diabetic eye disease, stroke and atherosclerosis.

Group leader

Dr Emma Gordon

Dr Emma Gordon

Group Leader, Dynamic control of vascular growth and function

  +61 7 334 62985
  UQ Researcher Profile

There is a gap in our knowledge about how the environment surrounding vessels mediates mechanisms within the cells of the vessel wall to guide vessel behaviour. Our lab aims to identify the signals connecting the extracellular and intracellular environments, and how these go wrong to induce pathological vascular growth and leakage. We hope that our work will identify new pathways and novel targets to prevent vascular dysfunction in disease.

The Vessel Dynamics lab is a multicultural, supportive group of postdocs, research assistants and students. We are passionate about everything to do with vessels, and investigating how they malfunction in a range of diseases. In addition to our love of vascular biology, we enjoy celebrating any awards, grants or milestones that lab members achieve. Dr Gordon is a UQ Ally, and supports the diversity of sexuality, sex and gender at UQ, and we pride ourselves on being inclusive for all members of the community.

Our approach

The aim of our lab is to further knowledge about how vessels grow and function in development and disease. We utilise novel biological models, biochemical assays and imaging techniques to better understand how the cells within vessels behave to control function. Using these tools, we hope to be able to find new ways to prevent or stimulate blood vessels from growing abnormally and leaking in diseases such as diabetes, cancer and stroke.

Research areas


  • Vascular permeability
  • Arterial stiffening and atherosclerosis

Common diseases

  • Blood vessel growth
  • Cell adhesion
  • Cellular dynamics
  • Vascular permeability
  • Pathological eye disease
  • Cancer growth and metastasis
  • Arterial stiffening and atherosclerosis

Our team

Group leader

Research members


General enquiries

  +61 7 3346 2222

Media enquiries

IMB fully supports UQ's Reconciliation Action Plan and is implementing actions within our institute.

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