Ralf Adams

Research Topic

The important question as to ‘how cells make tissues’ is the central research interest in my laboratory. Much of our work is focusing on the vertebrate cardiovascular system, in which blood vessels need to integrate precisely into very different tissue environments, acquire organ-specific functional specialization, and retain plasticity allowing them to adapt to changing local requirements and cues.

We make use of a powerful combination of inducible and cell type-specific genetic approaches in mice, confocal and two-photon microscopy, immunohistochemistry, cell/tissue culture, biochemistry, RNA and scRNA sequencing, and molecular biology to study the angiogenic growth of blood vessels, the interactions between different cell types forming the vessel wall, and the communication between blood vessels and the surrounding tissue. An example of the latter is the regulation of bone-forming cells and hematopoietic stem cells by blood vessels and specific capillary subtypes in the skeletal system.

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Selected Publications

  • Chen Q, Liu Y, Jeong HW, Stehling M, Dinh VV, Zhou B, Adams RH. (2019). Apelin+ Endothelial Niche Cells Control Hematopoiesis and Mediate Vascular Regeneration after Myeloablative Injury. Cell Stem Cell 25:768-78.
  • Luxán G, Stewen J, Díaz N, Kato K, Maney SK, Aravamudhan A, Berkenfeld F, Nagelmann N, Drexler HC, Zeuschner D, Faber C, Schillers H, Hermann S, Wiseman J, Vaquerizas JM, Pitulescu ME, Adams RH(2019). Endothelial EphB4 maintains vascular integrity and transport function in adult heart. Elife 29;8.
  • Langen, U.H., Pitulescu, M.E., Kim, J.M., Enriquez-Gasca, R., Sivaraj, K.K., Kusumbe, A.P., Singh, A., Di Russo, J., Bixel, M.G., Zhou, B., Sorokin, L., Vaquerizas, J.M., Adams RH. (2017). Cell-matrix signals specify bone endothelial cells during developmental osteogenesis. Nat Cell Biol 19:189-201.
  • Pitulescu M.E., Schmidt I., Giaimo B.D., Antoine T., Berkenfeld F., Ferrante F., Park H., Ehling M., Biljes D., Rocha S.F., Langen U.H., Stehling M., Nagasawa T., Ferrara N., Borggrefe T., Adams RH. (2017).  Dll4 and Notch signalling couples sprouting angiogenesis and artery formation. Nat Cell Biol. 19, 915-927.  
  • Kusumbe, A.P., Ramasamy, S.K., Itkin, T., Mäe, M.A., Langen, U.H., Betsholtz, C., Lapidot, T., Adams, RH. (2016). Age-dependent modulation of vascular niches for haematopoietic stem cells. Nature 532:380-4.
  • Kusumbe, A.P., Ramasamy, S.K., Adams, RH. (2014). Coupling of angiogenesis and osteogenesis by a specific vessel subtype in bone. Nature 507:323-8.
  • Ramasamy, S.K., Kusumbe, A.P., Wang, L., Adams RH. (2014). Endothelial Notch activity promotes angiogenesis and osteogenesis in bone. Nature 507:376-80.
  • Benedito, R., Rocha, S.F., Woeste, M., Zamykal, M., Radtke, F., Casanovas, O., Duarte, A., Pytowski, B., and Adams, RH. (2012). Notch-dependent VEGFR3 upregulation allows angiogenesis without VEGF-VEGFR2 signalling. Nature 484:110-114.
  • Wang, Y., Nakayama, M., Pitulescu, M.E., Schmidt, T.S., Bochenek, M.L., Sakakibara, A., Adams, S., Davy, A., Deutsch, U., Lüthi, U., Barberis, A., Benjamin, L.E., Mäkinen, T., Nobes, C.D., Adams RH. (2010). Ephrin-B2 controls VEGF-induced angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Nature 465:483-486.  
  • Benedito, R., Roca, C., Sörensen, I., Adams, S., Gossler, A., Fruttiger, M., Adams RH. (2009). The Notch ligands Dll4 and Jagged1 have opposing effects on angiogenesis. Cell 137:1124-1135.