Amy Firth, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Funded by the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
Harnessing Power of a Protein to Improve Lung Repair Following Injury
The airways play an important role in lung defense, and have a remarkable capacity for repair upon injury. This repair process is abnormal in many lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) . Using human cells and animal models of lung injury, we will study a protein called Claudin 18.1, which is found in cells lining the airways. We will look at how Claudin 18.1 influences function of airway stem cells, which are able to differentiate into specialized cell types to promote repair after injury. We hope to identify a novel approach to harness stem cell function by modulating Claudin 18 to improve lung repair following injury.