Office: RIC 218
Stem Cell Physiology
The global theme of my research program is to investigate the effects of low oxygen environments on the development of cells and organisms. There are two aims to this research.
Aim 1: The goal of this research is to investigate how physiologically relevant oxygen environments affect the development and differentiation of stem cells. Often research on stem cell development is performed in what can be termed a hyperoxic (high oxygen) environment, to which the cell would never be exposed in the actual animal. Different levels of oxygen can have a variety of effects on both cell behavior and cell development as oxygen can modify both cell membrane physiology and gene activity.
Aim 2: The second area of research focuses on the response of lung tissue to hypoxic (low oxygen) environments in the adult. The airway mucosa of mammalian lungs contain neuroendocrine cells (NEC) that are thought to function as an oxygen sensor. These NEC are capable of secreting various hormones that not only alter airway function but also blood flow to lung tissue. In addition these NEC have some stem cell like properties and may be involved in the repair of lung tissue after injury. Thus due to their physiology and anatomical location, these cells may play a key role in other diseases such as pulmonary arterial hypertension and carcinoid syndrome.