Epithelial tissues are composed of epithelial cells that create a barrier against the environment and are supported by a plethora of stromal cells like fibroblasts, adipocytes, immune cells, and endothelial cells. The identity and function of many stromal cell types is unknown and may hold the key to therapeutic avenues for chronic injuries and cancer.
Our lab develops and applies novel, interdisciplinary techniques to follow, track, and modulate cells and molecules within tissues and define their function in epithelial tissues. We build new conceptual frameworks to integrate specific cell types with tissue resident cells, and repurposing of techniques from cell, developmental, and chemical biology. As a result, we build, pilot, and collaborate to assemble the tools necessary to tackle the biggest questions in tissue repair and epithelial biology. Specifically, we are interested in identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which adipocytes, endothelial, and immune cells function in tissue repair and tumorigenesis. We are intrigued by the function of lipids within epithelial tissues and their role in inflammation, fibrosis, and tumorigenesis.