Research Specialty: kidney regeneration and therapy, pulmonary vasculature, genetics, BMP signaling, endothelial cells and late outgrowth EPCs
There are two main areas of research in my lab:
1) Our laboratory has been interested in the mechanisms regulating kidney progenitor cell fate and differentiation for a number of years. We are currently extending our developmental studies to explore how some of these developmental regulated pathways are reactivated in regenerating tissues following acute kidney injury and studying their role in promoting normal tissue regeneration. We are currently exploring the role of retinoid acid signaling in mediating these responses. In addition, based on these studies we are testing novel therapeutic approaches, identified from high content screens in zebrafish embryos (in collaboration with Neil Hukreide from the University of Pittsburgh), that enhance these regenerative developmental programs, increase the rate of recovery and reduce long term scarring following acute kidney injury in mice.
2) The other focus in my lab is on the functional role of BMP signaling in pulmonary hypertension. Human genetic studies indicate that this signaling pathway plays an important role in modifying pulmonary vascular responses in disease. Studies from my lab have shown that Bmp signaling exerts distinct opposing, cell specific effects on pulmonary vascular remodeling and tone. We are currently using genetic models in mice and late outgrowth EPCs (derived from peripheral blood samples) to explore how different inherited mutations in the BMP type 2 receptor, BMPR2, affect pulmonary vascular cell function, and using these approaches to evaluate the use of mutation-specific therapies to improve pulmonary vascular function in patients with heritable forms of pulmonary hypertension.