The principal function of the lung is to facilitate the absorption of oxygen and elimination of carbon dioxide. This exchange occurs in alveolus when gases cross thin alveolar and capillary membranes. Premature birth often impairs alveolar formation and lung injury can reduce the number and function of alveoli. Postnatally, a host of pathologic conditions can lead to alveolar destruction and reduced lung function. Our laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms which govern alveolar growth and regeneration and how alveolar and pulmonary microvascular growth are coordinated to maximize ventilation/perfusion matching.
More specifically, our laboratory is focused on how lung stretch regulates lung matrix remodeling and coordinates alveologenesis and pulmonary vascular morphogenesis. Elastin is critical for normal lung function and elastin remodeling is also important in angiogenesis in during repair of other organs and in some cancers. We have demonstrated that lung elastin remodeling is dynamically regulated in both lung development and lung regeneration, that this remodeling localizes to suspected areas of alveolar growth, and that the remodeling is associated pulmonary angiogenesis.