Diseases of the circulation (such as hypertension, heart failure, coronary vascular disease and stroke) are some of the biggest killers in Western society. In the Department, we aim to improve understanding of the effects of disease on blood vessel formation and function, and to produce strategies for prevention and alleviation of organ damage arising from blood vessel malfunction. Current work is aimed at understanding the ways in which blood vessels respond as complete tissues (involving the complex interactions between endothelial and smooth muscle elements) as well as the ways in which they are driven into developing new vasculature (angiogenesis). The research group of Dr Robin Hiley approaches this problem by elucidating mechanisms of drug action on the vasculature and its endothelial lining, in particular, the mechanisms of vasodilator action, and the vascular pharmacology of cannabinoids. Dr Tai-Ping Fan is interested in mechanisms underlying the formation of new blood vessels from existing vascular bed (angiogenesis). The Fan lab focuses on the mechanisms of action of three angiogenic factors: thymidine phosphorylase (TP), hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Both the Hiley and Fan labs have an interest in finding new drugs, with the Fan lab being especially interested in exploiting the angiogenesis- and immuno-modulating effects of pure compounds from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and natural products from other traditional medicine for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis, diabetic retinopathy, cancer etc, while the Hiley lab has collaborations with the Department of Chemistry (Glen group) in Cambridge to try to develop novel 5HT1b receptor antagonists for use in, amongst other conditions, pulmonary arterial hypertension.