Lung stem/progenitor cells, Lung Premalignancy, Early detection and Development of Biomarker
Lung stem cells
University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Research building 2
To investigate the role of normal tissue stem cells during lung premalignancy leading to cancer
Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding the role of airway stem/progenitor cells during lung health and disease. Progenitor cells are defined by two important characteristics: 1) the ability to self-renew, meaning that they are able to replenish themselves, and 2) the ability to differentiate into all cell-types that normally populate their home tissue, a characteristic referred to as multipotentiality. Together these properties allow progenitors to return injured tissue to normal structure and function. The implication is that diseases that lack the ability to return organs to normal structure and function, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung malignancy may have defects in progenitor function. We use tissue biopsies to grow progenitor cells from patients at risk for lung cancer and perform functional and molecular analyses to identify biomarkers for disease progression as well as targets for chemoprevention.