The lung is a vertebrate invention that allowed the early tetrapods to leave the water and colonize the land. Oxygen is the essential actor in aerobic metabolism and the lung’s cardinal function is to mediate the efficient transfer of oxygen from the atmosphere to the circulatory system. Given the lung’s essential function, diseases of the lung are often life-threatening or incapacitating.
The Laboratory of Jayaraj Rajagopal, MD, at Massachusetts General Hospital’s interest in regeneration is focused on understanding how cells in a tissue act in concert, as an ensemble, to respond to injury and restore normal tissue form and function. Recently, we’ve been interested in topics like plasticity, intercellular signaling circuits operant between different subpopulations of epithelial cells, injury sensing, the relationship between tissue formation and physiologic function and cellular heterogeneity. But we are open to any and all new avenues that give us insight into how cells act, not as individuals, but as components of a broader cellular tapestry, within the lung, with immune cells and across organ domains. We are interested in how all of this relates to human lung disease.