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McLean researcher

Anju Vasudevan: Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory

Disruptions in prenatal brain development can lead to diseases or disabilities including epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Our scientists investigate the key events of brain development and the ways those can go wrong, with the long-term goal of ensuring early brain development remains on track.

The critical prenatal processes are angiogenesis (the development of blood vessels), neurogenesis (the generation of neurons/brain cells), and neuronal migration (the movement of brain cells to the appropriate circuits).

Our work has shown that prenatal blood vessel development molds brain cell development—a new insight. Blood vessel-related defects that originate during the brain’s earliest developmental stages may play a role in the development of neuropsychiatric diseases in a way never before imagined. We are working to better understand how, why, and when this happens.

In addition, we study embryonic brain endothelial cells (the cells that line the blood vessels) in depth. These have considerable potential for intervening in the adult brain to bring about positive outcomes for repair and regeneration of new brain cells.

The Angiogenesis and Brain Development Laboratory was founded in 2011.