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Headlines Published on 10 May 2006

Title Scientific skills to keep pace with a bloody science

Research into angiogenesis shows promising results in diverse fields, providing career avenues for generalists and specialists alike, reports a Nature careers and recruitment feature.

The genesis of a research profession: learning how blood vessels are formed. © PhotoDisc
The genesis of a research profession: learning how blood vessels are formed.
© PhotoDisc
Learning about how blood vessels are formed – angiogenesis – has huge potential along two main research tracks: one aimed at finding ways to inhibit vessel growth as a means of starving tumours of their blood supply, and the other at stimulating it to provide healing oxygen to healthy tissue deprived by heart disease . But the ability to manipulate “the ebb and flow of vessels that feed our tissue” has broader applications than that, according to the recent Nature report.

“Molecules that could regulate blood-vessel formulation have implications way beyond cancer,” notes Nature. “Angiogenesis is implicated in at least 70 disorders, with a worldwide potential market of 500 million patients,” it goes on. More than 2 500 laboratories and some 375 companies around the world are on the trail of this bloody science.

“All signs point to continued astronomical growth,” William Li of the Angiogenesis Foundation in Cambridge Massachusetts (USA) is quoted as saying. This is because blood vessels play a “sentinel role in both physiology and pathology”, making it a “ripe target for fundamental research, as well as drug discovery”, he says.

In the right vein
A fact not missed by the European scientific community which is putting its effort into EU-funded Networks of Excellence, such the European Vascular Genomics Network (EVGN), bringing together 27 basic and clinical research facilities in nine countries to further explore angiogenesis and cardiovascular disease.  

The field is also ripe for scientists, especially young and mobile researchers eager to explore it as trained specialists or coming in from a pure scientific background or through an IT-related or microbiology-based education. EVGN, for example, offers postdoctoral positions and encourages researcher mobility and exchanges between the various participating laboratories.

“The field requires skills both integrative and eclectic,” the article points out. “In addition to basic competence in cell- and molecular-biology techniques, a job may entail a specific application, such as dissecting eyeballs or intepreting brainscans.” Any way you slice it, “[t]he future of angiogenesis research and drug development is rosy,” the report concludes.  

  • EVGN
  • Nature
  • Research Mobility portal (Europa)

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