Dr. Hansen’ lab studies the interactions between satellite cells and the vasculature. Satellite cells are skeletal muscle progenitor cells that are known to play an important role in muscle repair after injury and adaptation to exercise. However, the Hansen lab focuses on a previously underexplored role of satellite cells in vascular growth. They have found that satellite cells, when activated, produced a number of chemoattractant growth factors that drive the migration of vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells which in an important factor in the growth and development of blood vessels. This area is of particular interest in the context of peripheral artery disease (PAD), where patients suffer from ischemic tissue damage but treatment options are still limited. The lab has shown that ischemia stimulates satellite cells and are exploring ways to harness their angiogenic properties in vivo or through therapeutically delivered cells. We have also found that the effectiveness of exercise therapy in PAD is related to satellite cell. We are currently using single cell sequencing techniques to explore satellite cell biology in the context of exercise with the hope of development more optimal exercise regimens.
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