School of Biological Sciences

Dr Darren Day

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology
School of Biological Sciences

Phone: 04 463 6087
Location: Room 802, New Kirk Building, Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus

Dr Darren Day

Research Interests

My laboratory's interests are focused on stem cell biology and the normal and aberrant development of the vascular system. Current projects involve studying the role of the primitive mesodermal stem cells in the etiology of haemangioma, the role of mesenchymal stem/ progenitor cell function in venous malformations, the role of endothelial progenitor cells in psoriasis, and the formation of the vasculature in head and neck cancers.

Tumour angiogenesis and vascularisation is a fast growing domain in cancer biology because of the importance of the vasculature in establishing a nutrient supply and facilitating metastasis. The correlation between tumour aggression and expression of endothelium-associated genes along with formation of vessel-like structures by tumour cells (vascular mimicry) has marked the vasculature as a potential therapeutic target for cancer treatment. Current dogma infers that endothelial progenitor cells, resident within the bone marrow and spleen, migrate to solid tumours to form the new vasculature. Growing evidence suggests that this is an overly simplistic model for tumour vascularisation, especially in light of the increasing data showing the commonality between embryogenesis and tumour growth

Haemangioma is a tumor of the microvasculature that is characterized by aggressive angiogenesis during infancy, that by early adolescence spontaneously involutes to form a fibrofatty residuum. Haemangioma provides an ideal model system to study tumour angiogenesis and vasculorgenesis, and the role of stem cells have in the establishment of a blood supply to tissues.

Our cancer cell biology work focuses on the role of the renin-angiotensin system in malignancy as a regulator of angiogenesis and vasculogenesis in head and neck tumours. We work in close collaboration with Drs Tan and Itinteang from the Gilles McIndoe Research Institute in the Hutt.

Recent Publications

Itinteang T, Tan ST, Guthrie S, Tan CES, McIntyre BC Brasch H, Day DJ. A placental chorionic villous mesenchymal core cellular origin for infantile haemangioma. J Clin Pathol (2011). doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2011-200191

Vishvanath, A; Itinteang T, Tan ST, Day DJ. (2011) Infantile Hemangioma Expresses TRAIL, TRAIL receptors, osteoprotegerin and RANKL Histopathology. (In press)

Itinteang T, Tan ST, Brasch HD, Vishvanath A, Day DJ (2011) Primitive erythropoiesis in infantile haemangioma. Brit J Dermatol; 164: 1097-1100.

Itinteang T, Vishvanath, Day DJ, Tan ST (2011). Mesenchymal stem cells in infantile haemangioma. J Clin Pathol. 64:232-236.

Itinteang T, Withers AHJ, Leadbitter P, Day DJ, Tan ST (2011) Pharmacologic therapies for infantile haemangioma: Is there a relational basis? Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 128:499-507.

Steel RWT, Miller JH, Sim DA, Day DJ (2011) Learning Impairment by 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Adolescence is Attributable to Deficits in Chunking. Behav Pharmaco (In press).

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