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UPenn Gets $2.5M for Lung Repair, Regeneration Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have received a $2.5 million grant to use epigenetics to study lung repair as part of a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-funded consortium.

The five-year grant was funded under NHLBI's Lung Repair and Regeneration Consortium, a group of investigators and institutions.

The aim of the consortium is to create multidisciplinary teams that use new technologies and innovative strategies in basic and translational medicine, including genomics, to spur new research into lung regeneration and repair. The research is aimed at combating diseases such as asthma and COPD that involve a chronic cycle of injury and repair.

The Penn project, led by Edward Morrisey, scientific director of the Penn Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will involve studies of the epigenetic control of lung repair and regeneration with a focus on the role of pathways involving the enzyme histone deacetylase and microRNAs.

The researchers will seek to identify and characterize cell types that affect lung repair and regeneration and to discover ways to maintain, grow, and differentiate the cells into mature and functioning epithelial cells. They also will use small molecule mediators of histone deacetylase activity and microRNAs to develop therapies to for treating patients with asthma and COPD, as well as other airway diseases.

Other members of NHLBI's Lung Repair and Regeneration Consortium include the University of California, San Francisco; Yale University; the University of Michigan; the University of Texas Southwestern; Duke University; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; and Oregon Health Sciences University.