Lung Development and Regenerative Medicine

Pulmonary researchers at BU have contributed enormously to today’s understanding of the intricate cellular events and molecular signals that orchestrate the processes of lung development, in which a bulge in the developing esophagus grows into an intricate and complete set of lungs. These discoveries are immediately and directly relevant to lung development abnormalities, such as congenital lung diseases driven by exposures or deficiencies during pregnancy.  In addition, ongoing research is demonstrating that these pathways of developmental origin are central components of a great many lung diseases in both children and adults, including asthma, lung cancer, emphysema, and pulmonary fibrosis.  Finally, discoveries related to lung development have prospects for radicalizing new treatment approaches for pulmonary disease.  The directed differentiation of stem cells into specialized lung cells, as dictated by lung development programs defined in Pulmonary Center labs, has great promise for regenerative medicine and the hopes for repairing (or replacing) injured lungs and curing pulmonary disease.  Some of our research interests related to lung development and regenerative medicine include:

Alveolar epithelial cells (Brody, Head, IkonomouKotton, Mizgerd, Rock, Seaton, Tagne)

Conducting airway epithelial cells (Brody, Chen, FineHawkinsIkonomou, JonesKotton, Rock)

Directed differentiation of lung cells (HawkinsIkonomou, KasermanKotton, Rock, Wilson)

Gene therapy for lung disease (Kotton, Wilson)

Lung development (Brody, Chen, FineHawkinsIkonomou, Kotton, Rock, Tagne)

Lung regeneration (Ikonomou, Kotton, Rock)

Lymphatics (ChenFine)

Organoids and organogenesis (ChenHawkinsIkonomou, Kotton, Rock)

Smooth muscle cells (Chen, Fine)

Stem cell biology and iPS cells (Ikonomou, Kotton, MostaslovskyMurphy, Wilson)