The maturation of nascent vasculature, formed by vasculogenesis or angiogenesis, requires recruitment of mural cells, generation of an extracellular matrix and specialization of the vessel wall for structural support and regulation of vessel function. In addition, the vascular network must be organized so that all the parenchymal cells receive adequate nutrients. All of these processes are orchestrated by physical forces as well as by a constellation of ligands and receptors whose spatio-temporal patterns of expression and concentration are tightly regulated. Inappropriate levels of these physical forces or molecules produce an abnormal vasculature--a hallmark of various pathologies. Normalization of the abnormal vasculature can facilitate drug delivery to tumors and formation of a mature vasculature can help realize the promise of therapeutic angiogenesis and tissue engineering.