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Cleaver Group

Ondine Cleaver headshot in lab

Ondine Cleaver, PhD

UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas, USA

We study vascular cell fate and how progenitor cells assemble into blood vessels. Our group is particularly interested in intracellular signaling events that drive cytoskeletal or adhesion changes within progenitor cells, allowing them to assemble into functional tissues. We are interested in how cues in the microenvironment drive vascular assembly or growth, and how blood vessels in turn communicate paracrine, non-nutritional signals to stem cell niches. We also study how blood vessels maintain their integrity and how this can go awry due to genetic or hemodynamic defects.


Group Members

Mitzy   Cowdin
Mitzy Cowdin
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Mitzy is a fourth year PhD candidate in Dr. Ondine Cleaver’s Lab at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her work focuses on the role of Hippo kinases Lats1 and Lats2 on embryonic endothelial development. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to Texas at the age of 3. She loves living in Texas so much that she hasn’t left! She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University. In her free time, she likes to hike and rock climb. When she retires, she hopes to open an alpaca farm!

Peter  Luo
Peter Luo
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Peter Luo is a third-year MSTP student at UT Southwestern and a first-year graduate student in Dr. Ondine Cleaver’s lab. He received his undergraduate degree at Duke University in chemistry. Peter is currently interested in the development of the vasculature in conjunction with organogenesis, particularly that of the kidney. He hopes to understand the fundamental mechanisms involved in proper patterning of the vasculature, including heterogeneous gene expression between different vessel types.

Stephen  Spurgin
Stephen Spurgin
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Stephen Spurgin is a pediatric cardiology fellow at UT Southwestern/Children’s Health, where he is a member of the Physician Scientist Training Program in Pediatrics (PSTP2). He is currently a Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP) fellow working in Dr. Ondine Cleaver’s lab, where his research focuses on the development of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations in the setting of congenital heart disease. He is a native of Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Stanford University prior to completing medical school and pediatrics residency at UT Southwestern.