Peter Chen

Affiliate Assistant Professor
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Center for Lung Biology


Faculty Web Page

Last Updated:  October 12, 2012

Peter Chen




Research Focus

My lab focuses on how the lung epithelium interacts with the matrix during injury and repair. A major focus has been basic research into mechanisms regulating airway epithelial cell migration using in vitro and in vivo mouse models of airway injury. We have been working on understanding how syndecan-1, a cell surface proteoglycan, regulates epithelial repair after injury. Our work has defined a mechanism by which syndecan-1 controls focal adhesion turnover and integrin activation during lung epithelial migration. We have now taken that work and extended it into pathological conditions such as lung cancer and lung infections and finding that syndecan-1 has multiple roles in regulating and limiting the severity of lung disease. In a separate project, my lab has a line of investigation into how microRNAs participate in airway repair and fibrosis. This project takes a translational approach by using human airway epithelial cells procured from lung transplant patients. Our goal is to identify putative microRNAs that participate in the pathophysiology of chronic rejection after lung transplantation (i.e., obliterative bronchiolitis).

Relevant Publications

Chen P, Farivar AS, Mulligan MS, Madtes DK. TIMP-1 Deficiency Abrogates Obliterative Airway Disease after Heterotopic Tracheal Transplantation. Amer J. Resp. Cell Mol. Biol 2006 ; 34(4) :464-472. (PMID: 16388023)

Chen P, McGuire JK, Hackman RC, Kim KH, Black RA, Poindexter K, Yan W, Liu P, Chen AJ, Parks WC, Madtes DK. Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-1 Moderates Airway Re-epithelialization by Regulating Matrilysin Activity. Am J Pathol. 2008; 172:1256-70. (PMID: 18385523)

Chen P, Parks WC. The Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Epithelial Cell Migration. J Cell Biochem. 2009; 108:1233-43. (PMID: 19798678)

Chen P, Abacherli LA, Nadler ST, Wang Y, Li Q, Parks WC. Matrilysin Shedding of Syndecan-1 Facilitates Re-epithelialization by Affecting a2b1 Integrin Activation. PLoS ONE. 2009. 4(8): e6565. (PMID: 19668337)

Altemeier WA, Schlesinger SY, Buell CA, Parks WC, Chen P. Syndecan-1 Controls Cell Migration by Activating Rap1 to Regulate Focal Adhesion Disassembly. J Cell Sci. 2012. In Press.

Altemeier WA, Schlesinger SY, Buell CA, Rapraeger AC, Parks WC, Chen P. The transmembrane and extracellular domains of syndecan-1 have distinct functions in regulating lung epithelial migration and adhesion. J Biol Chem. 2012. In Press.

Active Funding

Funding Source

Project Title


Funding Dates


Syndecan-1 in Lung Repair


4/2011 - 3/2016


Current Mentees



Project & Funding

Rena Brauer, PhD

Senior Fellow

Syndecan-1 and Influenza Infection


Past Mentees



Project & Funding

Samuel Nadler, MD, PhD

Swedish Cherry Hill

Syndecan-1 Shedding and Neutrophil Activation

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