Areas of Research

Adhesion Molecules/Inflammation

Adhesion molecules are sticky cell surface molecules that facilitate intercellular binding and communication. They govern cell-to-cell interactions and are necessary for embryonic development, cell growth and differentiation, pathogen detection, inflammation, and wound repairs.

We are a world leader in adhesion molecule research, providing an explosion of information from the sub-molecular level to that of the whole organism. Researchers are specifically investigating molecules and their receptors that are involved in two survival mechanisms: the homing of immune cells to inflamed or infected tissues; and the recruitment of blood-clotting platelets to the site of a vascular wound.

Understanding the function of adhesion molecules will lead to ways of preventing inflammatory disease. Obstructing the movement of inflammatory and immune cells, for example, can help treat psoriasis. The FDA recently approved molecules discovered in the Springer Lab for clinical use against this affliction.

Our research in this area benefits from major advances in transgenic and knockout mouse technology. Powerful imaging tools, including intravital fluorescence microscopy and X-ray crystallography, also assist our scientists in scoring discoveries about adhesion molecules.

Investigators are pursuing these challenges in the area of adhesion molecules:

  • Understanding how adhesion molecules work at the molecular level;
  • Predicting the structure of molecules;
  • Understanding the biophysics of how adhesion molecules enter and exit from the bloodstream;
  • Searching for small molecules in a drug discovery program that might impede the function of adhesion molecules and lead to ways of preventing inflammatory disease, including atherosclerosis and thrombosis.

Related News and Announcements

“Shapeshifter” that regulates blood clotting is visually captured for the first time

Image: “Shapeshifter” that regulates blood clotting is visually captured for the first time

We are normally born with a highly sophisticated array of molecules that act as “sentries,” constantly scanning our bodies for injuries such as cuts and… Read Full Article »

A surprising new link between inflammation and mental illness — and a potential drug to protect the brain

Image: A surprising new link between inflammation and mental illness — and a potential drug to protect the brain

Up to 75 percent of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus — an incurable autoimmune disease commonly known as “lupus” —  experience neuropsychiatric symptoms.  But so… Read Full Article »

Denisa Wagner Received the 2015 Grant Medal from the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis

Image: Denisa Wagner Received the 2015 Grant Medal from the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis

Denisa Wagner, a former member of the ISTH Council (2004-10), is the Edwin Cohn Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Among her many accomplishments, Wagner is credited with defining the cell… Read Full Article »

Dr. Tim Springer was honored with the 2014 American Society of Hematology Henry M. Stratton Medal

Image: Dr. Tim Springer was honored with the 2014 American Society of Hematology Henry M. Stratton Medal

The 2014 American Society of Hematology Henry M. Stratton Medal for Basic Research was awarded to Timothy Springer, Ph.D. for his seminal contributions to basic hematology research. During his 35-year research career,… Read Full Article »