Tien Peng, MD

Assistant Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Division
+1 415 502-4852
Research Overview: 

Adult solid organs are composed of diverse cellular compartments with complex 3D organization that informs specific functions, with varying degrees of regenerative capacity in response to injury and tissue loss.  While resident tissue stem cells play an important role in the regenerative process, they are located within a cellular ecosystem (or “niche”) composed of various cell types that regulate stem cell function.  The Peng Lab is interested in how supportive niche cells modify the regenerative capacity of the stem cell, with the goal of deciphering cellular crosstalk that drives adaptive tissue regeneration. Our lab utilizes the lung as a model organ due to its immense cellular diversity and architectural complexity. 

Interested BMS/DSCB grad students are always welcome for lab rotations. Possible rotating projects include:

1. Establishment of organoid culture system to study tissue-tissue interaction. Our lab is interested in dissecting paracrine interactions that maintain normal tissue homeostasis, and modeling these behaviors in vitro. We have established organoid culture systems to study how various mesenchymal niches support epithelial survival and differentiation. The goal is to identify mesenchymal-derived factors that regulate epithelial progenitor behavior and vice versa.

2. Developing single-cell pipelines to dissect mesenchymal heterogeneity. We are focused on understanding how certain developmental pathways subdivide mesenchymal populations based on location and function. We are performing single-cell RNA sequencing using both the Drop-Seq and C1 Fluidigm platform to better understand how mesenchymal transcriptomes segregate based on location and cellular behavior.

3. Characterizing accelerated aging models. We have developed genetic tools to accelerate aging in the mesenchymal compartment in a temporal and spatially-selective manner. The goal is to identify tissue responses to the aging mesenchymal niche and evaluate factors that drive the aging phenotype.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Vascular & Cardiac Biology
Research Summary: 
Contribution of mesenchymal niche to homeostasis, repair, and aging



Gli1+ mesenchymal stromal cells form a pathological niche to promote airway progenitor metaplasia in the fibrotic lung.

Nature cell biology

Cassandras M, Wang C, Kathiriya J, Tsukui T, Matatia P, Matthay M, Wolters P, Molofsky A, Sheppard D, Chapman H, Peng T

The Role of Hedgehog Signaling in Adult Lung Regeneration and Maintenance.

Journal of developmental biology

Wang C, Cassandras M, Peng T

Adventitial Stromal Cells Define Group 2 Innate Lymphoid Cell Tissue Niches.


Dahlgren MW, Jones SW, Cautivo KM, Dubinin A, Ortiz-Carpena JF, Farhat S, Yu KS, Lee K, Wang C, Molofsky AV, Tward AD, Krummel MF, Peng T, Molofsky AB

Endothelial toll-like receptor 4 maintains lung integrity via epigenetic suppression of p16INK4a.

Aging cell

Kim SJ, Shan P, Hwangbo C, Zhang Y, Min JN, Zhang X, Ardito T, Li A, Peng T, Sauler M, Lee PJ

Expansion of hedgehog disrupts mesenchymal identity and induces emphysema phenotype.

The Journal of clinical investigation

Wang C, Reyes de Mochel NS, Christenson SA, Cassandras M, Moon R, Brumwell AN, Byrnes LE, Li A, Yokosaki Y, Shan P, Sneddon JB, Jablons D, Lee PJ, Matthay MA, Chapman HA, Peng T