The Division of Matrix Biology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was recently established in March 2006, and is the first of its kind in the country to reside within a Department of Medicine and unique in its combination of matrix research and clinical medicine. Matrix biology is the study of extracellular matrix (ECM) and its communication with cells. Where cells are present, matrix is also present, throughout the human body. This area of biology is gaining wide prominence as a key structural and functional regulator of organ function.
Currently, about 31 human diseases occur due to direct genetic defects in the ECM and basement membrane proteins. An emerging crossroads between matrix biology research and medical practice has created a unique opportunity at BIDMC to form a new division. The central mission of the Matrix Biology Division is to establish a research enterprise, renowned for its bench-to-bedside-to-bench model of translational matrix research and for its collaboration with industry, as a pathway for transferring our matrix and vascular biology research into an improvement of the quality of life. Additionally, the Division will participate in the program development of the Transplant Center and also the Cancer Center at BIMDC.
The Division of Matrix Biology focuses on the study of cellular microenvironment as determined by extra cellular matrix (ECM) and basement membranes (BM) in the regulation of the tissue behavior during health and disease. This fundamental interest in matrix biology translates into several major focus areas: vascular biology and angiogenesis; tumor microenvironment; cancer progression and metastasis; genetic and acquired kidney diseases; organ fibrosis; basement membrane assembly; and tissue engineering and stem cell biology.