Department of Pathology
The University of Chicago
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
MC 1089, Room J-541-D
Chicago, IL 60637
Our laboratory is devoted to the discovery of genes involved in determining the fate of embryonic mesenchymal progenitor cells as to their differentiation along the myogenic or adipogenic lineages and what role do they play in disease. We are currently focused on three main research projects. One of them involves a family of proteins identified in our laboratory, which we named TIPs (Tension Induced/inhibited Proteins). TIPs are transcriptional regulators that by interacting with histones direct uncommitted mesenchymal cells to differentiate into fat or smooth muscle, depending on what member of the family is activated.
The second project involves a small protein, which we found to stimulate smooth muscle myogenesis and myofibroblast differentiation. This protein, named P311, was previously identified in the brain. Our current studies indicate that P311 plays a significant role in the control of systemic blood pressure and its deregulation contributes to the development of hypertension.
The third project is focused on a rare and fatal lung disease referred to as lymphangioloeiomyomatosis (LAM). This is a low grade malignancy characterized by the progressive infiltration of the lung by embryonic smooth muscle-like cells, which circulate in blood and metastasize. Our several ongoing sub-projects on LAM are aimed at understanding the genetics and pathogenesis of this disease.