Carla Kim, PhD
Principal Investigator, Children's Hospital Boston
Associate Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Kim received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002, studying the functions of the double-strand break repair protein Rad50 in vivo. Carla was a post-doctoral fellow in Tyler Jacks’ laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, supported by a Jane Coffin Childs Research Fellowship. There, she identified a lung stem cell population called bronchioalveolar stem cells (BASCs); these cells had the ability to exhibit stem cell characteristics in culture and are likely to be the cells from which some forms of lung cancer arise.
Carla’s laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital has begun investigating the role of BASCs during conditions that require differentiation to repair lung tissue, during early stages of tumorigenesis, and during lung cancer progression. This includes creating new animal models to study lung stem cells and microarray studies. Expanding on work showing that BASCs are multipotent in culture, it will be important to determine the potential of isolated BASCs to produce lung epithelial cells in animal models. They have also been investigating the idea that rare cancer cells named “cancer stem cells” are present within lung tumors. To do so, the lab has created an assay to test the ability of mouse and human lung cancer cells to propagate tumors.
Finally, the lab is performing screens to identify genes that are critically required for the self-renewal and differentiation of BASCs. The work in the Kim Laboratory will have an impact on many diseases including cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and lung cancer.