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Jennifer L. Young, Ph.D.

Jennifer L. Young, Ph.D.

About Me

Faculty Appointments

Research Assistant Professor - Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology (SMD)


Post-doctoral Training & Residency

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, Dr. Lester F. Lau. 2004 - 2007


Ph.D. | Northwestern University. Molecular Biology and Genetics. 2004

BS | University of South Alabama. Biomedical Sciences. 1998


American Society for Cell Biology Pre-doctoral Travel Award. 1999

Biomedical Sciences Distinguished Achievement in Medical Microbiology. 1998

Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society. 1996


Lung diseases, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis, affect millions of Americans and account for a great number of deaths in this country each year. The pathology of all of these diseases is characterized by initia...
Lung diseases, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis, affect millions of Americans and account for a great number of deaths in this country each year. The pathology of all of these diseases is characterized by initial injury to the epithelium, an extensive inflammatory response, and cell death (apoptosis and necrosis) leading to the aberrant healing of the injury. The inflammatory responses associated with lung injury have been extensively studied and several models of lung injury have been established to study these responses. LPS administration, for example, induces a significant tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa) response that mimics the inflammatory responses of several lung diseases. Activation of the cytokine TNFa is a hallmark of lung injury. TNFa is a well-characterized cytokine that displays a broad spectrum of functions including lymphocyte activation and migration, cell proliferation, differentiation as well as apoptosis, but more often cell survival, and TNFa likely requires a co-factor for cell death.
My research focuses on elucidating the mechanism(s) of cell death and survival of primary alveolar epithelial cells and lung fibroblasts in response to the extracellular matrix associated signaling molecule, CCN1/Cyr61. CCN1/Cyr61 is an extracellular matrix (ECM)-associated signaling molecule that functions to promote cell adhesion, migration, survival and differentiation in the context of vascular development. Most recently we have shown that CCN1/Cyr61 can also modulate cell death in certain cells and can promote cell death in response to TNFa. In the context of the lung, I have found that CCN1/Cyr61 together with TNFa causes apoptosis of alveolar epithelial cells and lung fibroblasts. Because CCN1/Cyr61 has been shown to be induced in the lungs of patients with COPD and ARDS, I hypothesize that CCN1/Cyr61, together with inflammatory mediators such as TNFa causes cell death of primary lung cells in vivo, thus contributing to lung injury. I have also found that CCN1/Cyr61 functional knock-out mice have greatly reduced pulmonary inflammation at early times (<24 hrs) after LPS treatment, suggesting that CCN1/Cyr61, in addition to playing a role in apoptosis and cell survival, is likely to be involved in the initial inflammatory response as well. My research goals include determining a role for CCN1/Cyr61 in lung injury and inflammation and defining the mechanism by which CCN1/Cyr61 and TNFa cause cell death of lung cells in vivo. The ultimate goal of these studies is to gain a better understanding of the complex pathology of lung diseases such as COPD and ARDS so that better treatments for these lung diseases can be developed.


Journal Articles

?1-Na(+),K(+)-ATPase gene therapy upregulates tight junctions to rescue lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury.

Lin X, Barravecchia M, Kothari P, Young JL, Dean DA

Gene therapy.. 2016 June 23 (6):489-99. Epub 03/17/2016.

Electroporation-mediated gene delivery of Na+,K+ -ATPase, and ENaC subunits to the lung attenuates acute respiratory distress syndrome in a two-hit porcine model.

Emr BM, Roy S, Kollisch-Singule M, Gatto LA, Barravecchia M, Lin X, Young JL, Wang G, Liu J, Satalin J, Snyder K, Nieman GF, Dean DA

Shock.. 2015 January 43 (1):16-23. Epub 1900 01 01.

Comparison of &quot;open lung&quot; modes with low tidal volumes in a porcine lung injury model.

Albert S, Kubiak BD, Vieau CJ, Roy SK, DiRocco J, Gatto LA, Young JL, Tripathi S, Trikha G, Lopez C, Nieman GF

The Journal of surgical research.. 2011 March 166 (1):e71-81. Epub 11/12/2010.

Smooth muscle-specific gene delivery in the vasculature based on restriction of DNA nuclear import.

Young, J.L.; Zimmer, W.E.,; Dean, D.A.

Experimental Biology and Medicine Epub doi: 10.3181/0721-Rm-331. 2008; .

Electroporation-mediated gene delivery to the lungs.

Zhou R, Norton JE, Dean DA

Methods in molecular biology.. 2008 423 :233-47. Epub 1900 01 01.

Cytotoxicity of TNFalpha is regulated by integrin-mediated matrix signaling.

Chen CC, Young JL, Monzon RI, Chen N, Todorovi? V, Lau LF

The EMBO journal.. 2007 March 726 (5):1257-67. Epub 02/22/2007.

Gene transfer of the Na+,K+-ATPase beta1 subunit using electroporation increases lung liquid clearance.

Machado-Aranda D, Adir Y, Young JL, Briva A, Budinger GR, Yeldandi AV, Sznajder JI, Dean DA

American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine.. 2005 February 1171 (3):204-11. Epub 10/29/2004.

Electroporation as a method for high-level nonviral gene transfer to the lung.

Dean DA, Machado-Aranda D, Blair-Parks K, Yeldandi AV, Young JL

Gene therapy.. 2003 September 10 (18):1608-15. Epub 1900 01 01.

Effect of a DNA nuclear targeting sequence on gene transfer and expression of plasmids in the intact vasculature.

Young JL, Benoit JN, Dean DA

Gene therapy.. 2003 August 10 (17):1465-70. Epub 1900 01 01.

Modulation of protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated contraction and the possible role of PKC epsilon in rat mesenteric arteries.

Shirasawa Y, Rutland TJ, Young JL, Dean DA, Joseph BN

Frontiers in bioscience : a journal and virtual library.. 2003 May 18 :a133-8. Epub 05/01/2003.

Non-viral gene transfer of the Na+,K+-ATPase (beta)1 subunit using electroporation increases lung liquid clearance in rats.

Machado-Aranda, D., Y. Adir, J. L. Young, A. V. Yeldandi, G. R. S. Budinger, J. I. Sznajder, and D. A. Dean.

Am J Resp Crit Care Med. 2003; 171: 204-211.

Gene transfer to intact mesenteric arteries by electroporation.

Martin JB, Young JL, Benoit JN, Dean DA

Journal of vascular research.. 2000 37 (5):372-80. Epub 1900 01 01.