The Morrisey lab of Perelman School of Medicine
The Penn Center for Pulmonary Biology (PCPB) was established as a dedicated research center to study development and possible treatments for lung diseases. The PCPB is led by Dr. Edward E. Morrisey and his team, who are the forefront of pulmonary research through their studies of the molecular pathways governing lung and cardiovascular development.
The Morrisey lab employs animal models to study stem and progenitor cells responsible for the regeneration of the respiratory system 1. Beyond studying the reaction of these cells, they also investigate the signals these cells produce when responding to injury during the regenerative process. This workflow allowed the Morrisey lab to be one of the first to define the in vivo roles of GATA transcription factors in lung development and regeneration2.
Subsequent research into one specific factor, Gata5, shows an impact on airway hyperresponsiveness. Using the flexiVent to assess lung function, the Morrisey lab shows Gata5 helps regulate apolipoprotein E and the interleukin-13 receptor’s expressions in vivo, using a knock-out model. Specifically monitoring the overall resistance of the respiratory system (Rrs), the KO mice are significantly more bronchoconstricted than their heterozygote or naïve counterparts. Their research suggests the decrease in production of apolipoprotein E and increase in IL-13 expression, contributes to the airway hyperresponsiveness, though the exact mechanism requires more study.
Beyond asthmatic studies, another interesting article from this lab investigates whether endoplasmic reticular stress is a cause or factor to exacerbate lung fibrosis. Using the flexiVent to measure increased airway resistance (Rn) and decreased static lung compliance (Cst) of each subject, they show that stress factors such as intratracheal treatment with tunicamycin and expression of surfactant protein C make fibrotic remodelling easier4.
None of these impressive findings are possible without the amazing team at the Morrisey Lab, composed of PhD candidates, graduate students, undergraduates, staff scientists, research technicians, and a bioinformatics team. They employ sophisticated techniques including real time imaging, 3D tissue organ culturing systems, and CRISPR mediated genomic editing techniques to study lung diseases. SCIREQ is proud to have our equipment included in the many articles published by this innovative lab!
1Frank, D. B. et al. (2016). Emergence of a Wave of Wnt Signaling that Regulates Lung Alveologenesis by Controlling Epithelial Self-Renewal and Differentiation. Cell Reports, 17(9), 2312–2325. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.11.001
2 Zhang, Y. et al (2007). GATA and Nkx factors synergistically regulate tissue-specific gene expression and development in vivo. Development, 134(1), 189–198. doi: 10.1242/dev.02720
3 Chen, B. et al. Gata5 Deficiency Causes Airway Constrictor Hyperresponsiveness in Mice. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 50(4), 787–795. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2013-0294oc
4 Lawson, W. E. et al. (2011). Endoplasmic reticulum stress enhances fibrotic remodeling in the lungs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(26), 10562–10567. doi: 10.1073/pnas.110755910