Dr Emma Rawlins
Dr Emma Rawlins is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.
The Rawlins lab works on the roles of stem cells in lung development and homeostasis with the dual aims of understanding how the normal homeostatic control mechanisms are subverted in cancer and whether mechanisms of differentiation can be exploited as possible therapies. We investigate these questions using both in vivo mouse models and human organoids.
We are interested in the long-term maintenance of the mouse tracheal epithelium as a model for human airway homeostasis and have defined the cellular mechanisms by which the stem cells maintain the epithelium (Watson et al., 2015). Future work will focus on the possible differential contribution of these populations of cells to tumour initiation and progression. Our recent work investigating FGF Receptor signalling and the baseline control of airway stem cell proliferation illustrates the complexity of the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase networks which interact to maintain our epithelial surfaces (Balasooriya et al., 2016). We are very interested in determining the places at which these signalling networks can be subverted to contribute to cancer growth.
Our lab also uses in vitro and in vivo techniques to investigate the molecular control of lung epithelial cell differentiation with an increasing emphasis on human lung development. We are also asking if it will one day be possible to use lessons from embryonic development for cancer therapy?
lung; stem cell; lineage-label; mouse; organoid; human
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Balasooriya, G.I., Johnson, J.A., Basson, M.A., Rawlins, E.L., 2016. An FGFR1-SPRY2 Signaling Axis Limits Basal Cell Proliferation in the Steady-State Airway Epithelium. Dev Cell 37, 85-97.
Watson, J.K., Rulands, S., Wilkinson, A.C., Wuidart, A., Ousset, M., Van Keymeulen, A., Gottgens, B., Blanpain, C., Simons, B.D., Rawlins, E.L., 2015. Clonal Dynamics Reveal Two Distinct Populations of Basal Cells in Slow-Turnover Airway Epithelium. Cell Rep 12, 90-101.