The Whitman Laboratory is interested in how cellular signals regulate tissue structure and remodeling in development and disease. Our current work has two major foci. The first concerns the mechanism of action of halofuginone (HF), a small molecule derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine with therapeutic activity for chronic inflammatory and fibrotic disease. We have identified the molecular target of HF action, and are currently studying the signaling pathways by which HF is therapeutic for diseases associated with pathological tissue remodeling, including lung fibrosis, arthritis, and scleroderma.
Our second area of focus concerns the role of extracellular phosphorylation in the regulation of tissue homeostasis, remodeling, and regeneration. We have recently discovered the first secreted tyrosine kinase, and shown that this kinase phosphorylates a broad range of extracellular substrates both in the secretory pathway and outside the cell. We are currently exploring how this novel class of regulatory modification controls extracellular matrix function during tissue healing and in disease.
Tracy Leigh Keller