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Vascular Biology & Cancer Microenvironment

We study the role of blood vessels, and of endothelial cells, in regulating normal organ function and in disease. In detail, we study cancer (solid and hematologic) as a systemic disease that involves (and requires) blood vessels for its onset and progression.

In addition to the role of blood vessels, we also study the involvement of bone marrow-derived cells and of metabolic systemic signals in cancer onset and progression.

Research Team

Ana Magalhães
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

Diogo Coutinho
Lab Technician

Emanuel Estevez de Oliveira
MSc Student

Miguel Esperança Martins
PhD Student

Pedro Marreiros
MSc Student

Sofia Esteves
MSc Student

Teresa L Serafim
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Areas

  • Tumor Angiogenesis
  • Tumor Metabolism
  • Bone-Marrow

Ongoing Research Projects

2013/2014 Laço Award for Breast Cancer. Coordinator: Sérgio Jerónimo Rodrigues Dias. Agency: Laço Associação de Solidariedade Social.

2010/2014 "Cholesterol promotes tumor angiogenesis and Metastasis?" Coordinator: Sérgio Dias. Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia. PTDC/SAU-ONC/114080/2009

2010/2014 "Exploiting the molecular basis for the aberrant vascular niches in multiple myeloma" Coordinator: Sérgio Dias. Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia. PTDC/SAU-ORG/113617/2009.


  • 2013 Laço Award for Breast Cancer Research
  • 2004 Pfizer Biomedical Research Prize, "Sociedade de Ciências Médicas/Pfizer".
  • 2004 "Pulido Valente/FCT Prize" for the Best paper in Oncology Research in Portugal.

Selected Publications

  • Caiado F, Dias S. Endothelial progenitor cells and integrins: adhesive needs. Fibrogenesis Tissue Repair. (invited review) 12;5(1):4. (2012)
  • Casalou C, Costa A, Carvalho T, Gomes AL, Zhu Z, Wu Y, Dias S. Cholesterol Regulates VEGFR-1 (FLT-1) Expression and Signaling in Acute Leukemia Cells. Mol Cancer Res. 9(2):215-24. (2011)
  • Real C, Remedio L, Caiado F, Igreja C, Borges C, Trindade A, Pinto-do-Ó P, Hyagita H, Duarte A, Dias S. Bone marrow-derived Endothelial Progenitors expressing Delta-like 4 (Dll4) regulate tumor angiogenesis. PlosOne. 6(4):e18323. (2011)
  • Schmidt T, Kharabi Masouleh B, Loges S, Cauwenberghs S, Fraisl P, Maes C, Jonckx B, De Keersmaecker K, Kleppe M, Tjwa M, Schenk T, Vinckier S, Fragoso R, De Mol M, Beel K, Dias S, et al. Loss or Inhibition of Stromal-Derived PlGF Prolongs Survival of Mice with Imatinib-Resistant Bcr-Abl1(+) Leukemia. Cancer Cell. 14;19(6):740-53. (2011)
  • Caiado F, Carvalho T, Silva F, Castro C, Clode N, Dye JF and Dias S. Fibrin E modulates endothelial progenitors adhesion, differentiation and angiogenic growth factor production and promotes wound healing. Biomaterials, 32(29):7096-105 (2011)
  • Gomes AL, Carvalho T, Torre C, Serpa J and Dias S. Hypercholesterolemia promotes bone marrow cell mobilization by perturbing the SDF1:CXCR4 axis. Blood 115(19):3886-94 (2010)
  • Epiphanio S, Campos MG, Pamplona A, Carapau D, Pena AC, Ataíde R, Monteiro CA, Félix N, Costa-Silva A, Marinho CR, Dias S, Mota MM. VEGF promotes malaria-associated acute lung injury in mice. PLoS Pathogens. 6(5):e1000916. (2010)
  • Serpa J, Caiado F, Carvalho T, Torre C, Goncalves LG, Casalou C, Lamosa P, Rodrigues M, Zhu Z, Lam EW, Dias S.Butyrate rich colonic microenvironment is a relevant selection factor for metabolically adapted tumour cells. J Biological Chemistry. 285(50):39211-23. (2010)
  • Caiado F, Real C, Carvalho T, Dias S. Notch pathway modulation on bone marrow-derived vascular precursor cells regulates their angiogenic and wound healing potential. PLoS ONE. 3(11):e3752. Epub 2008 Nov 18 (2008)
  • Kerbel RS, Benezra R, Lyden DC, Hattori K, Heissig B, Nolan DJ, Mittal V, Shaked Y, Dias S, Bertolini F, Rafii S.Endothelial progenitor cells are cellular hubs essential for neoangiogenesis of certain aggressive adenocarcinomas and metastatic transition but not adenomas. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105(34):E54; author reply E55. (2008)
  • Casalou C, Fragoso R, Nunes JF and Dias S. VEGF/PLGF induces leukemia cell migration via P38/ERK1/2 kinase pathway, resulting in Rho GTPases activation and caveolae formation. Leukemia. 21: 1590-1594 (2007).
  • Santos SCR et al and Dias S. VEGF and VEGFR-2 (KDR) internalization is required for endothelial recovery during wound healing. Experimental Cell Research. 313(8):1561-74 (2007)
  • Fragoso R, Pereira T, Wu Y, Zhu Z, Cabeçadas J and Dias S. VEGFR-1 (FLT-1) activation modulates acute lymphoblastic leukemia localization and survival within the bone marrow, determining the onset of extramedullary disease. Blood, 107(4):1608-16 (2006).
  • Avecilla ST, Hattori K, Heissig B, Tejada R, Liao F, Shido K, Jin DK, Dias S, et al.. Chemokine-mediated interaction of hematopoietic progenitors with the bone marrow vascular niche is required for thrombopoiesis. Nature Medicine. 10(1):64-71 (2004).
  • Constantino Rosa Santos S and Dias S. Internal and external autocrine VEGF/KDR loops regulate survival of subsets of acute leukemia. Blood. 103(10): 3883-9 (2004).

group leader :
Sérgio Dias