Program in Lung Regeneration and Repair


The program seeks to understand the regenerative ability of the respiratory system and how such information can be used to develop new therapies for lung diseases.  The development of new therapies for lung disease is critical since chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD are on the rise and are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world.


  • Recent advances have begun to identify the molecular pathways and cell populations that are activated upon adult lung injury  (Tian, et. al.: Development 138:1235-1245 2011; Li, et. al.: Development 139:2500-2509 2012).
  • Researchers are investigating how to generate stems cells outside of the body so they can one day generate lung tissue  (Kadzik and Morrisey, Cell Stem Cell 10:355-361 2012).
  • Scientists are identifying specific molecules that guide the specification and formation of lung tissue  (Zhang, et. al.: Nat. Genet. 40:862-870 2008; Goss, et. al.: Dev Cell 17:290-298 2009).


  • Penn is one of six sites that are part of the NIH sponsored Lung Repair and Regeneration Consortium (LRRC), which will enhance lung research on the campus.
  • Penn faculty are defining the mechanisms underlying normal lung repair and regeneration using high-throughout small molecule and genomic screening tools.
  • Penn faculty are working closely with clinicians in identifying disease causing pathways in both pediatric and adult populations to identify new targets for development of future therapies.

"Research in lung regeneration may have the potential to develop new treatments and cures for asthma, COPD, emphysema, lung cancer and other related lung disorders.”
Edward E. Morrisey, Ph.D., is Scientific Director of the IRM, and Director of the IRM Program in Lung Regeneration and Repair.  Dr. Morrisey has discovered the genes that are important for the development of the heart and lungs with the goal of understanding how they can promote tissue regeneration.