Professor, Cell and Molecular Biology; Feinberg School of Medicine
TRIST-Skin Cancers,Tumor Invasion, Metastasis & Angiogenesis
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Communication between cells and the environment is essential for development, homeostasis and repair of tissues. The research focus in the laboratory of Professor Jonathan Jones centers on the interaction between epithelial cells and the extracellular matrix, particularly the role that laminin family members play in regulating the behavior of skin and lung epithelial cells. One of the Jones lab projects is designed to derive new insight into how cell surface receptors of the integrin family regulate the deposition of laminin molecules into the extracellular matrix and how this influences skin cell migration. We are also studying the signaling pathways via which integrins determine motility behavior of skin cells. Our investigations have implications for skin wound healing and cancer. In a second research project, we have uncovered novel functions for laminin matrix in the transduction of mechanosignals in the alveolar epithelial compartment of the lung. We are currently working on how laminin regulates alveolar epithelial cell differentiation and how genetic manipulation of signaling pathways in alveolar epithelial cells impacts normal and diseased lung function in vivo.