Prof. Ward De Spiegelaere

Research topic

The goal of our research team is to understand how blood vessels remodel and mature to form a hierarchical capillary plexus. Within this context, we are mainly focused on studying the mechanisms of intussusceptive angiogenesis. This particular process of vessel remodeling leads to the splitting of a single blood vessel in two. During intussusceptive angiogenesis transcapillary pillars arise within the lumen of blood vessels. These pillars can lead to the doubling of an existing blood vessel, to the pruning of superfluous vessels, or to the hierarchical reorganization of an initial capillary plexus to an arborized structure. Intussuscecptive pillar formation is regulated by multiple actors, including blood flow, molecular actors and perivascular cells.


Our group focuses on three main topics:

  • The role of the angiopoietins and the TIE1/TIE2 receptor complex, as important factors in sensitizing blood vessel to remodel by intussusceptive angiogenesis.
  • The role of TIE2 expressing macrophages (TEMs), which are a subset of macrophages that specifically interact with blood vessels and regulate vascular growth and homeostasis.
  • Angiogenesis in canine mast cell tumours



  • Angiopoietins in angiogenesis
  • In vitro angiogenesis models (spherois sprouting assay)
  • Intussusceptive angiogenesis
  • Chick chorioallantoic membrane model of angiogenesis
  • Digital PCR


Available techniques:

  • Vascular corrosion casting
  • Laser microdissection (Pixcell II, Arcturus)
  • Light and fluorescence microscopy
  • Transmission electron microscopy (JEM 1400 Plus, Jeol)
  • Scanning electron microscopy (JSM 5600 LV, Jeol)


Team members :

Contact informatie

Prof. Ward De Spiegelaere
Vakgroep Morfologie
Faculteit Diergeneeskunde – Universiteit Gent
Salisburylaan 133
9820 Merelbeke
Tel.:  09 264 77 38
Fax:  09 264 77 90