Many of us take our lungs for granted yet they perform a function that is critical for life, respiration. Unfortunately millions of Americans suffer from one of a number of debilitating lung diseases making the subconscious action of breathing a very conscious and difficult activity. Studying human lung disease and, in particular, the way in which a lung disease develops in humans is exceptionally difficult in a dish. For me this was the challenge that became the focus of my postdoctoral research at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies – to create a reproducible and effective way to study human lung development and disease in a dish.
My laboratory will focus on utilizing patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and state-of-the-art gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR, to a) model and study mechanisms of lung disease development and b) investigate approaches for tissue regeneration and stem cell mediated repair of the airway epithelium.