Vu received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California,
San Francisco in 1991 after completion of the Medical Scientist
Training Program. She completed a Residency in Internal Medicine
at the University of California, San Diego and a Fellowship in
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSF. Besides engaging
in basic research, she also practices clinical medicine, serving
as attending physician in the Chest clinic and on the Pulmonary
Consult Service and the medical ICU at San Francisco General Hospital.
laboratory focuses on the following areas of study:
The role of the vasculature in organogenesis: We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of tissue vascularization
and the role of the vasculature in tissue formation. Our hypothesis is that there are reciprocal
inductive interactions between the tissue and its vasculature
during organogenesis. This
is strongly suggested in the lungs by the intimate relationship
between airways and lung blood vessels, which is critical for
normal lung function. Our goals are to identify the molecular and
cellular mechanisms that mediate the cross talk between epithelium
and mesenchyme to coordinate airway and vessel development during
The development of pulmonary alveoli: Another area of interest
of the lab is the development of the distal lung, namely, the
formation of alveoli. These are key functional units of the lungs
where gas exchange takes place, yet the regulation of alveolar
morphogenesis is not well understood.
Our hypothesis is that since the formation of alveoli occurs
in a defined period, genes that regulate alveolar morphogenesis
must be differentially expressed during periods of active and
inactive alveolar formation.
We are attempting to identify genes that regulate alveolar
development by isolating genes differentially expressed between
these stages. The role
of candidate genes will then be tested using gain- and loss-of
function studies both in vitro and in vivo.
The biology of lung progenitor and stem cells:
As a rule the adult lungs do not regenerate and the response
to lung injury in many cases is fibrosis.
We are interested in identifying whether there are populations
of progenitor or stem cells in the adult lungs that can be stimulated
to repair and regenerate damaged lungs.
We are also interested in identifying conditions that support
the growth and differentiation of resident lung progenitor and
stem cells or that induce bone marrow derived stem cells to populate
and regenerate lung tissues.
Vu, T. H., Y. Alemayehu, and Z. Werb (2002). New insights
into saccular development and vascular formation in lung
allografts under the renal capsule, Mechanisms of Development120:305-313.
T. H., and Z. Werb (2000). Matrix
metalloproteinases: effectors of development and physiology, Genes
and Development 14: 2123-2133. [Full Text]
Gerber, H-P., Vu, T. H., Ryan, A. M., Kowalski, J., Hillan, K.
J., Werb. Z., and N. Ferrara (1999).
VEGF couples hypertrophic cartilage remodeling, ossification,
and angiogenesis during endochondral bone formation, Nature
Medicine 5:623-628. [Abstract] [Full
Vu, T.H., Shipley, J. M., Bergers, G., Bergers, J., Helms, J.,
Hanahan, D., Shapiro, S., Senior, R., and Z. Werb (1998).
MMP-9/Gelatinase B is a key regulator of growth plate angiogenesis
and hypertrophic chondrocyte apoptosis.
Cell 93: 411-422. [Pubmed]
Vu, T. H., and Z. Werb (1998).
Gelatinase B: structure, regulation, and function.
In: Biology of Extracellular Matrix—Matrix Metalloproteinases. William C. Parks and Robert P. Mecham, eds.,
Academic Press, pp 115-148.