University of Southern California

Firth Lab

USC Stem Cell

Lab Overview

Our laboratory focuses on using stem cells as a tool to study human lung biology in health and disease and as a potential therapeutic/diagnostic approach for patients with lung diseases. We use patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to generate models of lung disease, such as cystic fibrosis (CF), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and ciliopathies. We combine state-of-the-art gene editing (CRISPR) and iPSC technologies with directed differentiation, proteomics, epigenetics and next-generation sequencing to: 1) generate reproducible models of respiratory diseases in a dish; 2) generate chimeric animal models to understand disease development and progression; and 3) utilize these models in high-throughput screening.

iPSC colony derived from skin fibroblasts of a patient with cystic fibrosis. The colony is stained with pluripotency markers Lin28 (red) and Sox2 (green), and DAPI (blue) indicates nuclei. (Image courtesy of the Firth Lab)
Multiciliated cells differentiated from iPSCs. The cilia projections are stained with alpha tubulin (cyan), pericentrin indicates cell bodies localized at the apical surface (red) and nuclei are counterstained with DAPI (blue). (Image courtesy of the Firth Lab)
Club cells differentiated from iPSCs. Club cell secretory protein is indicated in green. Tight junctions between epithelial cells are stained with occluding (ZO-1 in red) and the nuclei are counterstained with DAPI (blue). (Image courtesy of the Firth Lab)