Christina Eleanor Barkauskas
Assistant Professor of Medicine

I am a physician-scientist and stem cell biologist focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms involved in lung injury and repair. I am particularly interested in determining the critical components of the alveolar epithelial stem cell niche and the cellular crosstalk signals that dictate cell identity and behavior during steady state maintenance and repair after injury and infection. I believe this work is fundamental to better understanding the biology of the human lung and the pathogenesis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a disease that is characterized by relentless scar accumulation in the lung with only minimally effective therapy short of lung transplant.

Through my work, I have developed several areas of expertise which include the following: 1) Development and use of mouse models to genetically manipulate and lineage trace specific cell populations; 2) Isolation and characterization of murine lung cell subpopulations by flow cytometry; 3) Development and use of an ex vivo 3-dimensional organoid assay to study the self-renewal and differentiation of murine alveolar epithelial stem cells and their niche components; 4) Isolation and 3-dimensional culture of alveolar epithelial cells from fresh human lung; 5) Development and analysis of models of experimental lung fibrosis.

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