Ya-Wen Chen, Ph.D.

Ya-Wen Chen, Ph.D.

Institution: University of Southern California

Project: Roles of hypoxia and Wnt signaling in human progenitor cell fate decision during lung injury

Grant(s): Catalyst Award

The human lungs have different types of stem cells that each have their own areas they are responsible for repairing inside the lung when it is injured. Most of the research on lung stem cells uses mouse lungs. It is very difficult to determine if the stem cells found in mice also exist in humans. We recently developed a human model that can be used to make this determination. We started from cells called pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which are cells that theoretically can give rise to all cells in the body. We will be using this human model to figure out if these human stem cells behave like mouse cells and manipulate them to promote lung repair. Our hope is that in the future, clinicians can regulate these cells to promote normal repair in human lung injury.

Update: We are continuing to gain a better understanding of the similarities and differences between human and mouse stem cells. This project will move us one step closer to promoting normal lung repair.

Supported by the Mary Fuller Russell Fund

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