Jesus Torres-Vazquez

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Jesus Torres-Vazquez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor;
Skirball Institute Program of Developmental Genetics and Cell Biology (Skirball)

Contact Info

540 First Avenue
Floor 4 Room Lab 14
Skirball Institute
New York, NY 10016

212-263-0298, 212-263-0259

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1995-2001 — University of California, Irvine, Graduate Education
2001-2006 — National Institute of Health, PostDoctoral Training

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Research Summary

The vertebrate vasculature displays a highly reproducible and pervasive anatomy, required for the delivery and exchange of gases, hormones, metabolites and immunity factors. Consequently, defective vessel growth contributes to the pathogenesis of multiple human diseases.

To understand the genetic pathways and cellular strategies used by developing vessels to acquire their architecture, we are using genetic approaches and imaging tools to study vascular development in zebrafish. In particular, we are focusing on answering the following questions:

  1. What are the signaling pathways that shape the anatomical pattern of the vasculature?
  2. What are the molecular mechanisms by which these pathways regulate the motility, shape and proliferation of endothelial cells?

We hope that the answers to these questions will allow us to contribute to the development of therapies aimed at the regulation of blood vessel growth, like anti-cancer treatments and ischemic tissue re-vascularization.

Why zebrafish?
The transparent and externally developing zebrafish embryo is the only genetic system in which blood vessel development can be visualized in vivo and in real time. In addition, animals with defective vessels survive for long periods of time due to passive oxygen diffusion, providing the opportunity to study both early and late embryonic stages of vascular patterning. In our studies, we employ transgenic animals carrying vascular fluorescent reporters and high-resolution imaging methods, such as confocal microscopy and microangiography to study gene-specific loss of function phenotypes generated by mutagenesis or morpholino injection.

Want to watch an example of this powerful combination? See the development of the zebrafish trunk vasculature (formation of the intersomitic vessels) in a normal embryo and in an animal lacking plxnD1 activity.

Confocal time-lapse movies of the development of the intersomitic vessels in TG(fli1-EGFP)y1 embryos (Lateral views, from 20 to 32 hours post fertilization. Dorsal is to the top and anterior is to the left). Note that in wild type embryos the intersomitic vessels sprout at regular intervals and display thin and dynamic filopodia-like projections, which are absent from the Dorsal Aorta. The path followed by the intersomitic vessels prefigures their final shape. By contrast, in animals lacking the function of the endothelial-specific receptor plxnD1 the intersomitic sprouts grow at irregular intervals and form an aberrant interconnected vascular network due to the formation of ectopic interconnections.

Learn more at the Torres-Vazquez Laboratory Homepage.

Research Interests

Blood vessel formation in zebrafish

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All data from NYU Health Sciences Library Faculty Bibliography — -


The role of Hath6, a newly identified shear-stress-responsive transcription factor, in endothelial cell differentiation and function
Fang, Fang; Wasserman, Scott M; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus; Weinstein, Brant; Cao, Feng; Li, Zongjin; Wilson, Kitchener D; Yue, Wen; Wu, Joseph C; Xie, Xiaoyan; Pei, Xuetao
2014 Apr;127(Pt 7):1428-1440, Journal of cell science
— id: 954622, year: 2014, vol: 127, page: 1428, stat: Journal Article,

Control of angiogenesis by AIBP-mediated cholesterol efflux
Fang, Longhou; Choi, Soo-Ho; Baek, Ji Sun; Liu, Chao; Almazan, Felicidad; Ulrich, Florian; Wiesner, Philipp; Taleb, Adam; Deer, Elena; Pattison, Jennifer; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus; Li, Andrew C; Miller, Yury I
2013 Jun;498(7452):118-122, Nature
— id: 563832, year: 2013, vol: 498, page: 118, stat: Journal Article,

Transgenic retinoic acid sensor lines in zebrafish indicate regions of available embryonic retinoic acid
Mandal, Amrita; Rydeen, Ariel; Anderson, Jane; Sorrell, Mollie R J; Zygmunt, Tomas; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus; Waxman, Joshua S
2013 May;:989-1000, Developmental dynamics
— id: 354292, year: 2013, vol: , page: 989, stat: Journal Article,

Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors S1pr1 and S1pr2 Cooperatively Regulate Embryonic Vascular Development
Mendelson, Karen; Zygmunt, Tomasz; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus; Evans, Todd; Hla, Timothy
2012 Dec;:2143-2156, Journal of biological chemistry
— id: 204392, year: 2012, vol: , page: 2143, stat: Journal Article,

CDP-diacylglycerol synthetase-controlled phosphoinositide availability limits VEGFA signaling and vascular morphogenesis
Pan, Weijun; Pham, Van N; Stratman, Amber N; Castranova, Daniel; Kamei, Makoto; Kidd, Kameha R; Lo, Brigid D; Shaw, Kenna M; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus; Mikelis, Constantinos M; Gutkind, J Silvio; Davis, George E; Weinstein, Brant M
2012 Jul;120(2):489-498, Blood
— id: 177779, year: 2012, vol: 120, page: 489, stat: Journal Article,

In parallel interconnectivity of the dorsal longitudinal anastomotic vessels requires both VEGF signaling and circulatory flow
Zygmunt, Tomasz; Trzaska, Sean; Edelstein, Laura; Walls, Johnathon; Rajamani, Saathyaki; Gale, Nicholas; Daroles, Laura; Ramirez, Craig; Ulrich, Florian; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus
2012 Aug;:5159-5167, Journal of cell science
— id: 175743, year: 2012, vol: , page: 5159, stat: Journal Article,

Diverse functions for the semaphorin receptor PlexinD1 in development and disease
Gay, Carl M; Zygmunt, Tomasz; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus
2011 Jan 1;349(1):1-19, Developmental biology (Orlando)
— id: 116204, year: 2011, vol: 349, page: 1, stat: Journal Article,

The novel transmembrane protein Tmem2 is essential for coordination of myocardial and endocardial morphogenesis
Totong, Ronald; Schell, Thomas; Lescroart, Fabienne; Ryckebusch, Lucile; Lin, Yi-Fan; Zygmunt, Tomasz; Herwig, Lukas; Krudewig, Alice; Gershoony, Dafna; Belting, Heinz-Georg; Affolter, Markus; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus; Yelon, Deborah
2011 Oct;138(19):4199-4205, Development
— id: 137082, year: 2011, vol: 138, page: 4199, stat: Journal Article,

Neurovascular development in the embryonic zebrafish hindbrain
Ulrich, Florian; Ma, Leung-Hang; Baker, Robert G; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus
2011 Sep 1;357(1):134-151, Developmental biology (Orlando)
— id: 137873, year: 2011, vol: 357, page: 134, stat: Journal Article,

Semaphorin-PlexinD1 Signaling Limits Angiogenic Potential via the VEGF Decoy Receptor sFlt1
Zygmunt, Tomasz; Gay, Carl Michael; Blondelle, Jordan; Singh, Manvendra K; Flaherty, Kathleen McCrone; Means, Paula Casey; Herwig, Lukas; Krudewig, Alice; Belting, Heinz-Georg; Affolter, Markus; Epstein, Jonathan A; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus
2011 Aug 16;21(2):301-314, Developmental cell
— id: 136640, year: 2011, vol: 21, page: 301, stat: Journal Article,

Genetic determinants of hyaloid and retinal vasculature in zebrafish
Alvarez, Yolanda; Cederlund, Maria L; Cottell, David C; Bill, Brent R; Ekker, Stephen C; Torres-Vazquez, Jesus; Weinstein, Brant M; Hyde, David R; Vihtelic, Thomas S; Kennedy, Breandan N
2007 ;7:114-114, BMC developmental biology
— id: 95023