Our lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which the lung epithelium is injured and regenerates after injury. Failure of epithelial repair after injury is thought to drive the development of lung diseases such as fibrosis and pneumonia (including COVID-19). Specifically, we are exploring the mechanisms underlying injury, including inflammatory injury, proliferation and differentiation of alveolar epithelial cells. We have identified WNT/β-catenin and TGFβ signaling as important drivers of alveolar epithelial type 2 cell proliferation and differentiation during lung repair. We also study mechanisms of epithelial - immune cell crosstalk in host defense, injury, and repair. We use mouse and cell culture models to study the mechanisms underlying proliferation and differentiation of lung epithelial cells during repair. The mouse work involves lineage tracing and inducible cell-specific gene deficient mice, and primary rat and mouse alveolar epithelial cell culture work allows us to further dissect mechanism. Techniques include scRNAseq, biochemistry, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, and others.
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