Cell communication in health and disease

Dr. Tschumperlin's lab studies the interactions between cells that help maintain homeostasis in healthy lungs and are disrupted in injury or disease. Above: A lung organoid formed from human bronchial epithelium, fibroblasts and endothelium.

Cell-Cell Communication and Lung Repair

The structure and function of the lung are maintained by complex interactions between its resident cell types, including epithelium, endothelium and fibroblasts. Injury, infection and aging alter the relative balance of these cell types and their individual activities, resulting in altered cell-cell interactions that can disturb lung structure and function, leading to loss of function and disease.

In this research project, the Tissue Repair and Mechanobiology Laboratory is studying cell-cell interactions in a number of model systems, including organoids formed from human lung cells and precision-cut lung slice cultures, to better understand how such cellular interactions maintain homeostasis, and how they become dysregulated in disease conditions.

The long-term goal of this project is to identify critical pathways through which to restore reparative or homeostatic interactions between lung resident cell types, ultimately leading to more-effective repair of the lung after injury or chronic lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis.