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John C. Chappell, Ph.D.

November 1, 2018

Assistant Professor
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI)
Center for Heart and Regenerative Medicine, VTCRI
Department for Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech
Va Tech-Wake Forest Univ School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Roanoke, VA

Primary Research:

Blood vessels deliver oxygen and distribute inflammatory cells to nearly every tissue in the human body, among other essential functions. Regulation of vascular growth must therefore be tightly controlled, and when this regulation is disrupted, numerous diseases can occur or become worsened such as cancer growth and metastasis. John Chappell and his research team study how the blood vasculature develops during early organ formation and during certain diseases such as tumor progression and neurological disorders. Increased insight into the basic mechanisms of blood vessel formation will guide the design of clinical therapies for vascular-related pathologies.

Pericytes are cells that wrap around blood vessels to maintain their stability and integrity. Disruptions in pericyte contribution to the vascular wall can lead to disease progression including diabetic retinopathy. Trained as a biomedical engineer, Chappell uses computational modeling approaches in conjunction with real-time imaging of ex vivo and in vitro models of blood vessel formation to understand pericyte behavior during blood vessel formation in health and disease. Understanding the mechanisms behind pericyte recruitment and investment will provide rationale and guidance for targeting pericyte-endothelial cell interactions for therapeutic benefit.

Lab Web Site:

Members of the laboratory:

Sarah Taylor, Lab Manager
Laura Beth Payne, Postdoctoral Fellow
Jordan Darden, Ph.D. Student
Huaning Zhao, Ph.D. Student
David McGuire, Ph.D. Student
Clifton Jenkins-Houk, Medical Student
Timothy Nguyen, Medical Student
Anisha Chada, Medical Student
Harsh Patolia, Medical Student
Malek Bouzaher, Medical Student
Morgan Julian, Medical Student
Justin Davis, Undergraduate Student
Christina Compton, Undergraduate Student
Karan Paralkar, Post-baccalaureate Researcher
Nathalie Lemon, High School Volunteer
Ella Higgins, High School Volunteer
Abigail Ingram, High School Volunteer
Logan Dunkenberger, High School Volunteer
Matthew Svec, High School Volunteer
Richard Qiu, High School Volunteer
Kathryn Fink, High School Volunteer
Christine Flora, High School Volunteer

Chappell Lab Merge 01 2


Recent Publications:

  • Chappell JC, Payne LB, Rathmell WK. Hypoxia, angiogenesis, and metabolism in the hereditary kidney cancers. Journal of Clinical Investigation. Accepted for publication, Feb 2019.
  • Darden J, Payne LB, Zhao H, Chappell JC. Excess vascular endothelial growth factor-A disrupts pericyte recruitment during blood vessel formation. Angiogenesis. 2018 Sep 20. doi: 10.1007/s10456-018-9648-z. [Epub ahead of print]  PubMed PMID: 30238211.
  • Zhao H, Darden J, Chappell JC. Establishment and characterization of an embryonic pericyte cell line. Microcirculation. 2018 Jul;25(5):e12461. doi: 10.1111/micc.12461. Epub 2018 Jun 7. PubMed PMID: 29770525.
  • Arreola A, Payne LB, Julian MH, de Cubas AA, Daniels AB, Taylor S, Zhao H, Darden J, Bautch VL, Rathmell WK, Chappell JC. Von Hippel-Lindau mutations disrupt vascular patterning and maturation via Notch. JCI Insight. 2018 Feb 22;3(4). pii: 92193. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.92193. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29467323; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5916240.

Collaborative Relationships:

Kim Rathmell, Vanderbilt University
Shayn Peirce-Cottler, University of Virginia
Feilim Mac Gabhann, Johns Hopkins University
Lee Murfee, University of Florida

Recent Presentations:

Pericyte Migration and Investment during Developmental Blood Vessel Remodeling, World Congress of Microcirculation 2018, Vancouver, BC.

Vascular Abnormalities with VHL Mutations, 13th Annual VHL Symposium, Houston, TX

Lab Motto:

Pericytes for life.