Case Study

Dr David Gurevich

Defining the mechanisms of tissue repair to rescue diseases of defective healing – David Gurevich, PhD

My lab works towards improving our understanding of how cells and tissues interact during tissue repair, with a particular focus on inflammation and angiogenesis during wound healing. The interface between these two processes is tightly controlled in healthy repair, and is dysregulated during aging or in pathologies such as diabetes. We use the translucent and genetically tractable zebrafish to live image cell interactions underlying tissue repair via advanced confocal microscopy, and rapidly screen for key mechanisms governing repair processes via cutting-edge CRISPR gene editing techniques. Collaborating with tissue engineers, we complement this in vivo approach with innovative human tissue co-culture assays that bridge the gap between animal studies and clinical trials, using these to validate the function of candidate genes and pathways identified in our fish studies.

We are interested in using this translational pipeline to help identify and develop novel therapeutics that restore normal inflammation and angiogenesis to rescue defective tissue repair. Currently, we screen for candidates that show improved healing in diabetic zebrafish wounds, using microparticles loaded with bioactive molecules such as cytokines. Our approach has tremendous potential to be expanded by working with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to facilitate biomaterial and drug discovery, ultimately benefiting patients with chronic wounds by shortening treatment windows and reducing suffering. More broadly, our work will drive discoveries to enhance healing in other compromised repair contexts, from heart muscle following myocardial infarction to fibrotic disorders.