Vasiliki Koliaraki Research Group

Our lab’s main goal is the delineation of the properties, origin, and functions of intestinal mesenchymal cells, as well as the molecular mechanisms that regulate them during homeostasis, inflammation, and cancer. In cancer, we are particularly interested in identifying the pathways driving cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF) activation and downstream functions in the context of the complex tumor microenvironment. To accomplish this, we combine genetic targeting in mice, cell lineage studies, animal models of disease and high-throughput technologies, including single-cell transcriptomics. Our aim is to provide further insight into the biology of mesenchymal cells, and their contribution to disease pathogenesis, and offer new potential for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Our main scientific directions include:

1) Understanding the contribution of fibroblast heterogeneity and functions in intestinal damage and repair.

2) The identification of CAF-specific cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate tumor initiation and progression.

3) The devise of novel ways to target disease-associated pathways for therapeutic purposes.