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John Albeck, Ph.D.

University of California, Davis
Learning How the Body Repairs Damaged Lung Epithelium
Innovation Award

The cells lining the lung form a protective layer called the epithelium, which must be repaired when it is damaged by air pollutants or other toxins. This repair is accomplished by inducing cell division to replace dead cells and cell migration to remodel airways. Occasionally, these cellular repair processes are overactive, can lead to fatal diseases such as lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. We will study how the repair induction signals between cells collaborate with a key metabolic regulator known as AMPK to ensure that the lung repair process is efficient and avoids the excessive responses that lead to disease. These findings will contribute to efforts to change cell behaviors to manage lung cancer, fibrosis, and other aging-related disorders of lung epithelial dysfunction.

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