- B.A., 1977, Pomona College, Physics.
- Ph.D., 1983, Caltech, Biology.
- Postdoctoral research, University of California, San Diego
Tissue size regulation and drug development
Our laboratory is working on two areas of biomedicine. First, we are studying how the sizes of tissues and tumors are regulated, and how this can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes. As a model system, we are using the simple eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum, which allows us to combine techniques such as biochemistry, genetics, computer modeling, and cell biology to study tissue size regulation. We have found that a secreted protein and a small organic molecule are signals in negative feedback loops that inhibits Dictyostelium cell proliferation, and we are studying the signal transduction pathways to understand similar mechanisms in humans.
Second, we have found that a human blood protein called Serum Amyloid P (SAP) regulates a key step in the formation of the scar tissue-like lesions in fibrosing diseases such as congestive heart failure, end-stage kidney disease, and pulmonary fibrosis. We are working with a biotech company we co-founded to develop SAP as a therapeutic. In two clinical trails, SAP injections appear to reduce the symptoms of fibrosis. Current work in the lab uses biochemistry, cell biology, immunology, and genetics to develop therapeutics for diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Current Genetics Students:
- Medical Genetics - Human and Animal:
Tissue size regulation, Tissue cell composition, and Fibrosing diseases