Lung Development

Jeffrey Whitsett’s laboratory makes extensive use of conditional gene targeting in transgenic mice, bioinformatics, physiology and biochemistry in the study of lung formation and function. Transgenic mice models are utilized to understand the pathogenesis of genetic and inflammatory lung disorders and to develop new therapies for respiratory disease. Conditional systems for gene targeting have been developed for study of lung formation and function, as well as for identifying lung progenitor cells and their fates in the mouse.

Currently, the Whitsett Laboratory seeks to:

  • Elucidate the hierarchy of transcription and signaling networks that produce the differentiated epithelial cells lining the developing  and mature respiratory tract
  • Determine mechanisms controlling cell-specific gene transcription governing lung epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation related to the pathogenesis of acute and chronic lung disorders, including respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pulmonary fibrosis, disorders of surfactant homeostasis (figure 1), asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF)
  • Assess mechanisms controlling surfactant homeostasis at the cellular and molecular level

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