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Vaughan Laboratory

Dr. Vaughan’s research is focused on defining and understanding the relevant cell types and molecular mechanisms by which the mammalian lung is able to regenerate after severe injury. He is especially interested in elucidating the means by which epithelial progenitors contribute to repaired airway and alveolar units after various lung insults (influenza, ARDS, fibrosis). His studies suggest that physiological lung function is in fact dictated by progenitor cell fate choices after injury.

Dr. Vaughan and his group have developed a novel orthotopic cell transplantation assay which allows for the direct assessment of engraftment, proliferation, and differentiation potential of these stem cells. Further, he is actively investigating the roles of the Notch, Wnt, and BMP pathways in regulating the differentiation potential and fate of expanded progenitor cells post-injury.

Dr. Vaughan is part of the CAMB (DSRB) graduate group, and is a member of the Penn Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM).

Interested in Working in the Vaughan Lab?

Dr. Vaughan is currently seeking new graduate students to join his laboratory team. He welcomes inquiries for potential rotations from incoming students. Contact Dr. Vaughan directly at andrewva@vet.upenn.edu

Contact Information

Andrew Vaughan, PhD, Penn Vet

Andrew Vaughan, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Email: andrewva@vet.upenn.edu

mosaic of flu injured lung, Vaughan Lab, Penn Vet

Our research foci in the Vaughan lab revolve around a central question: what signals and microenvironmental cues dictate the balance between euplastic regeneration and dysplastic remodeling?  

This paradigm is especially obvious in the lung after influenza infection, where areas of regeneration and remodeling are coincident, even in nearby regions of the same lung. At a cellular level, one can envision how these injury repair outcomes are actually dictated by progenitor cell fate choices within the injured tissue.

We have several projects aimed at increasing our understanding of molecular rheostats affecting this balance.  In one project, we are studying the role of vascular-derived bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signals that impact progenitor cell fate choices, wherein boosting BMP levels seems to promote more appropriate fate choices. Building upon previous work, we are also continuing to study how the Notch pathway impacts cell fate as well as optimizing orthotopic progenitor cell transplants for cell therapy approaches.

We have a number of other ongoing projects for which we are actively recruiting new scientists.  These projects include investigating the role of Eph / Ephrin signaling in lung repair, translational control of adult progenitor cells, definition of Notch signaling programs, epigenetic maintenance of progenitor states, and exploring paracrine signaling between the vasculature and the epithelium during regeneration. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are interested in joining the team!

From: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncb3585

Lung repair kit, Vaughan Lab, Penn Vet

Dr. Vaughan’s latest research titled “Local lung hypoxia determines epithelial fate decisions during alveolar regeneration” was recently published in Nature Cell Biology.