Richard O. Hynes

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Election Year: 1996
Primary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Secondary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

My laboratory studies the molecular basis of cellular adhesion, using cellular and molecular biology, genetics, and other approaches both in cell culture systems in vitro and in intact animals (mice, flies). Adhesion of cells to each other and to the extracellular matrix plays crucial roles in controlling the position, survival, proliferation, and differentiation of cells and is essential for multicellular life. Our research concentrates on fibronectins, a family of extracellular adhesive proteins generated by alternative splicing of the transcript of a single complex gene, and on their cell surface receptors, integrins, which are encoded by a multigene family. Integrins connect the extracellular matrix to the intracellular cytoskeleton and are also involved in transmembrane signaling. As such they play a central role in mediating the consequences of cell adhesion. We are interested in the roles played by fibronectins and integrins during embryonic development, hemostasis and thrombosis, wound healing, angiogenesis, and cancer. We are also studying another family of adhesion receptors, the selectins, which function in cell-cell adhesion during inflammation. All these processes involve changes in cell adhesion, which we seek to understand at the molecular level. Such understanding is of interest in itself and also offers routes to therapeutic intervention in human diseases.

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