School of Medicine
Cancer Cell Biology
Area of interest
Research in the Randell laboratory is currently focused on five areas where a greater knowledge of basic cell biology can be applied towards overcoming clinical lung disease problems.
1) Identification of Airway Epithelial Stem Cells. Our goals are to identify and isolate airway epithelial stem cells and to understand molecular mechanisms regulating airway epithelial cell proliferation and fate.
2) Micro RNA Regulation of Human Airway Epithelial Phenotype- ARRA Award. We will comprehensively determine the miRNA repertoire of human airway epithelial cells and will test the ability of specific miRNAs to alter cell structure and function.
3) Innate Immunity in the Airway. Our goals are to better understand airway epithelial adaptation to chronic injury and infection and to understand the relationship of adaptation to the pathogenesis of airway disease.
4) Post-lung Transplant Ischemia Reperfusion Injury and Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome. We are examining mechanisms of lung injury relevant to transplantation and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, the leading cause of lung allograft failure.
5) UNC CF Center Tissue Procurement and Cell Culture Core. This Core provides primary and passaged human airway and alveolar epithelial cells, lung microvascular endothelial cells, media and expertise to UNC CF Center investigators and collaborators. This facility is a nationally and internationally recognized resource whose services are sought for collaboration, contract research, and training by academics, nonprofit organizations, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry.
Awards and Honors
Micro RNA Regulation of Human Airway Epithelial Phenotype – ARRA Award to Randell Lab
Greater than 30 million people in the USA suffer from respiratory diseases characterized by airway inflammation and obstruction. One of these inflammatory diseases- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is strongly associated with the development of lung cancer, the world’s most prevalent lethal cancer. Cells lining the airway respond to injury and are integral to the progression of lung disease and cancer development. However, many basic mechanisms regulating their function remain poorly understood. There are no specific therapies targeting disease related phenotypic changes in the airway epithelium. Micro RNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small RNA molecules known to regulate many aspects of cell behavior. Together with Drs. Scott Hammond in Cancer Cell Biology and D. Neil Hayes in Translational Medicine, the Randell Lab was awarded an ARRA RC1 Challenge grant to comprehensively determine the miRNA repertoire of human airway epithelial cells and to test the ability of specific miRNAs to alter cell structure and function. These studies will create a valuable database and will suggest novel tools to detect, monitor and treat lung cancer.