Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Tulane University of Louisiana (2005)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Berkeley (2011)

Stanford Advisors

Journal Articles

  • Alveolar progenitor and stem cells in lung development, renewal and cancer. Nature Desai, T. J., Brownfield, D. G., Krasnow, M. A. 2014; 507 (7491): 190-194


    Alveoli are gas-exchange sacs lined by squamous alveolar type (AT) 1 cells and cuboidal, surfactant-secreting AT2 cells. Classical studies suggested that AT1 arise from AT2 cells, but recent studies propose other sources. Here we use molecular markers, lineage tracing and clonal analysis to map alveolar progenitors throughout the mouse lifespan. We show that, during development, AT1 and AT2 cells arise directly from a bipotent progenitor, whereas after birth new AT1 cells derive from rare, self-renewing, long-lived, mature AT2 cells that produce slowly expanding clonal foci of alveolar renewal. This stem-cell function is broadly activated by AT1 injury, and AT2 self-renewal is selectively induced by EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) ligands in vitro and oncogenic Kras(G12D) in vivo, efficiently generating multifocal, clonal adenomas. Thus, there is a switch after birth, when AT2 cells function as stem cells that contribute to alveolar renewal, repair and cancer. We propose that local signals regulate AT2 stem-cell activity: a signal transduced by EGFR-KRAS controls self-renewal and is hijacked during oncogenesis, whereas another signal controls reprogramming to AT1 fate.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature12930

    View details for PubMedID 24499815

  • Patterned Collagen Fibers Orient Branching Mammary Epithelium through Distinct Signaling Modules. Current biology Brownfield, D. G., Venugopalan, G., Lo, A., Mori, H., Tanner, K., Fletcher, D. A., Bissell, M. J. 2013; 23 (8): 703-709


    For decades, the work of cell and developmental biologists has demonstrated the striking ability of the mesenchyme and the stroma to instruct epithelial form and function in the mammary gland [1-3], but the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules in mammary pattern specification has not been elucidated. Here, we show that stromal collagen I (Col-I) fibers in the mammary fat pad are axially oriented prior to branching morphogenesis. Upon puberty, the branching epithelium orients along these fibers, thereby adopting a similar axial bias. To establish a causal relationship from Col-I fiber to epithelial orientation, we embedded mammary organoids within axially oriented Col-I fiber gels and observed dramatic epithelial co-orientation. Whereas a constitutively active form of Rac1, a molecule implicated in cell motility, prevented a directional epithelial response to Col-I fiber orientation, inhibition of the RhoA/Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) pathway did not. However, time-lapse studies revealed that, within randomly oriented Col-I matrices, the epithelium axially aligns fibers at branch sites via RhoA/ROCK-mediated contractions. Our data provide an explanation for how the stromal ECM encodes architectural cues for branch orientation as well as how the branching epithelium interprets and reinforces these cues through distinct signaling processes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2013.03.032

    View details for PubMedID 23562267