Hope College Biology

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Picture of Maria A. Burnatowska-Hledin Maria A. Burnatowska-Hledin Professor of Biology and Chemistry


  • Physiology, McGill University, Ph.D., 1980
  • Physiology, McGill University, M.S., 1977
  • Biochemistry, McGill University, B.S., 1975

Research Interests

We have cloned a novel, endothelium specific protein, VACM-1, which shares sequence homology with cullins, a family of intracellular proteins that regulate diverse cellular functions. Our work indicates that VACM-1 protein regulates cellular growth by a mechanism that distinguishes it from growth regulating factors, and from other cullins, and thus suggests a unique biological role for this largely uncharacterized cul gene product. In cancer cell line and in endothelial cells VACM-1 inhibits growth while expression of VACM-1 mutant has a dominant negative effect on cellular proliferation in vitro as it increases cellular growth, and, importantly, converts endothelial cells to the angiogenic phenotype. Consequently, VACM-1 may play a role as a potential novel suppressor of angiogenesis in vivo. Thus, the goal of our research is to test the hypothesis that VACM-1 is involved in the regulation of endothelial cell growth, and to identify the mechanism of VACM-1 regulated angiogenesis in vitro. Students will be involved in designing experiments that test different aspects of the functional relationships between VACM-1 and cellular growth under different extra-cellular environmental conditions. Students involved in our research projects will learn experimental procedures that include cell culture, immunocytochemistry, spectrophotometry, fluorescence polarization techniques, polyacrylamide gel analysis and Western blotting. Importantly, students will learn to read, discuss, and question research papers effectively and to prepare scientific manuscripts.

Go to current research projects


  • American Physiological Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • American Society of Cell Biology
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Contact Details

Phone: 616-395-7764
Fax: 616-395-7125
Email: hledin@hope.edu
Office: Science Center 3061

Office Hours

Tuesdays 9:30-10:30
Wednesdays 9:00-10:00
By appointment