A photo of Jeffrey Whitsett.

Co-Director, Perinatal Institute

Section Chief, Division of Neonatology, Perinatal and Pulmonary Biology

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Biography & Affiliation


Dr. Whitsett's laboratory discovered surfactant proteins B and C, cloned the genes encoding the surfactant proteins A, B, C, and D, Scgb1a1, TTF-1 and others and utilized transgenic mouse models to delete and mutate these genes in transgenic mice. They identified transcriptional networks regulating lung morphogenesis and perinatal lung maturation contributing to the understanding of the roles of TTF-1, CEBPα, SOX2, SOX17, FOXA1, FOXA2, FOXA3, SPDEF, KLF5, CDC42 and others using both in vitro and in vivo methods. They identified multiple transcription factors regulating goblet cell differentiation airway epithelial cells including critical role of SPDEF, FOXA3 and airway goblet cells controlling innate immunity. They produced transgenic mouse models for conditional deletion and expression of genes involved in lung development, disease, and repair. They have generated transgenic models of pulmonary adenocarcinoma and explored the role of transcription factors mediating pulmonary adenocarcinoma in vivo and in vitro. They utilized RNA-Seq, microarray, Chip-Seq in the application of Nex-Gen sequencing and bioinformatics to identify and understand networks involved in the regulation of lung development and disease using clinical sample, as well as in vitro and in vivo models.

Dr. Whitsett has a long interest in training both in the clinical setting in “Neonatology” and in “Pulmonary Biology” and has contributed to the direct training of more than 80 graduate or post-graduate students in his laboratory. The scope of his work is represented in several recent reviews. Initial discoveries from his laboratory provided early insights into the genes and proteins critical for surfactant function including ABCA3, SFTPC, SFTPB, SFTPA, SFTPD.

Additional Languages

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Clinical Interests


Research Interests

Lung development

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Neonatology, Perinatal Biology, Pulmonary Biology, Developmental Biology, Fibrosis


MD: Columbia University, New York, NY, 1973.

Residency: Pediatrics, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City, 1974 to 1976.

Fellowship: Neonatology, Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 1976 to 1977.


Guo M, Du Y, Gokey JJ, Ray S, Bell SM, Adam M, Sudha P, Perl AK, Deshmukh H, Potter SS, Whitsett JA, Xu Y. Single cell RNA analysis identifies cellular heterogeneity and adaptive responses of the lung at birth. Nat Commun. 2019 Jan 3;10(1):37.

Gokey JJ, Snowball J, Sridharan A, Speth JP, Black KE, Hariri LP, Perl A-KT, Xu Y, Whitsett JA. Long Noncoding RNA MEG3 is Increased in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Regulates Epithelial Cell Differentiation. JCI Insight. 2018 Sep 6;3(17). 

Davies ER, Kelly JFC, Howarth PH, Wilson DI, Holgate ST, Davies DE, Whitsett JA, Haitchi HM. Soluble ADAM33 initiates airway remodeling to promote susceptibility for allergic asthma in early life. JCI Insight. 2016;1:e87632.

Ustiyan V, Zhang Y, Perl A-KT, Whitsett JA, Kalin TV, Kalinichenko VV. ß-Catenin and Kras/Foxm1 Signaling Pathway are Critical to Restrict Sox9 in Basal Cells During Pulmonary Branching Morphogenesis. Dev Dyn. 2016;245:590-604.

Guo M, Wang H, Potter SS, Whitsett JA, Xu Y. SINCERA: A pipeline for single-cell RNA-Seq profiling analysis. PLoS Comput Biol. 2015;11:e1004575.

Kamath-Rayne BD, Du Y, Hughes M, Wagner EA, Muglia LJ, DeFranco EA, Whitsett JA, Salomonis N, Xu Y. Systems biology evaluation of cell-free amniotic fluid transcriptome of term and preterm infants to detect fetal maturity. BMC Med Genomics. 2015;8:67.

Du Y, Guo M, Whitsett JA, Xu Y. ‘LungGENS’: a web-based tool for mapping single-cell gene expression in the developing lung. Thorax. 2015;70:1092-1094.

Snowball J, Ambalavanan M, Whitsett J, Sinner D. Endodermal Wnt signaling is required for tracheal cartilage formation. Dev Biol. 2015;405:56-70.

Wakata K, Tsuchiya T, Tomoshige K, Takagi K, Yamasaki N, Matsumoto K, Miyazaki T, Nanashima A, Whitsett JA, Maeda Y, Nagayasu T. A favorable prognostic marker for EGFR mutant non-small cell lung cancer: immunohistochemical analysis of MUC5B. BMJ Open. 2015;5:e008366.

Ishida N, Fukazawa T, Maeda Y, Yamatsuji T, Kato K, Matsumoto K, Shimo T, Takigawa N, Whitsett JA, Naomoto Y. A novel P13K inhibitor iMDK suppresses non-small cell lung Cancer cooperatively with a MEK inhibitor. Exp Cell Res. 2015;335:197-206.