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Cell & Developmental Pathology

Fundamental studies in the area of cell and developmental pathology focus on the development, morphogenesis and function of epithelial, hematopoietic and neuronal cell lineages as well as cells of the immune system.   

Learn more about our work below.

 Kathleen Green Lab

Cell-to-cell adhesion molecules' integration of mechanical and signaling functions in skin and heart differentiation, disease and cancer.

Research Description

Dr. Green's research program focuses on how cell-cell adhesion molecules and their associated proteins integrate mechanical and chemical signaling pathways to contribute to the development and maintenance of multicellular tissues. In particular they are investigating how specialized intercellular junctions called desmosomes are assembled and function in ways that transcend their classic textbook definition as spot welds. The lab has shown that desmosomal cadherins help control the balance of proliferation and differentiation and even regulate the production of cytokines that participate in paracrine signaling. Loss of this “brake” results in increased allergic and inflammatory pathways that underlie pathogenesis in inherited disease and possibly cancer, including melanoma. Desmosomes also integrate the functions of other intercellular junctions including gap junctions and interfering mutations can cause lethal heart arrhythmias.

The lab uses a multi-faceted approach, including but not limited to collaborative atomic structure determinations, molecular genetics, live cell imaging, human tissue engineering and gene targeting approaches. Dr. Green serves as Associate Director for Basic Sciences in the R.H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

For more information, please visit the Green Lab website and the faculty profile of Kathleen J Green, PhD.


See Dr. Green's publications in PubMed.


Dr. Green

 Rui Yi Lab

Investigate mechanisms of skin development, stem cells, aging and cancer at the single-cell level

Research Description

Mammalian skin and its appendages function as the outermost barrier of the body to protect inner organs from environmental hazards and keep essential fluid within. Our research program studies mechanisms that govern cell fate specification, stem cell maintenance and aging as well as initiation and progression of cancer. We use single-cell genomics and computational tools, live animal imaging and genetically engineered mouse models to study gene expression regulation mediated by transcription factors, epigenetic regulators and post-transcriptional mechanisms mediated by miRNAs and RNA binding proteins at the single-cell resolution in mammalian skin. 

Our research aims to address several fundamental questions in stem cell biology: how the developmental potential of embryonic progenitors and adult tissue stem cells is transmitted or restricted in their progenies at the molecular level when they go through critical transitions such as cell fate specification, self-renewal of stem cells as well as stress response, and how these regulatory mechanisms go awry in aging and diseases. Answers to these questions will help to manipulate skin stem cells for regenerative medicine and discover new treatment for human skin diseases.​

View all lab publications via PubMed.

For more information, visit the faculty profile page of Rui Yi, PhD or visit the Yi Laboratory website.

Contact Us

Email Dr. Yi




 Yashpal Kanwar Lab

Principal Investigator: Yashpal Kanwar, MD, PhD
Research Interest: Pathology of diabetic nephropathy with an emphasis on tubulopathy

We study how the association of cells with the extracellular matrix-rich environment guides the morphogenesis of tissues and contributes to repair after injury, leading to the development of fibrosis in the kidneys in response to aging, gene mutations and changes in metabolism. 

Our lab is interested in how cytoskeletal signaling, motor proteins and adhesion systems are integrated with chemical signaling pathways to regulate cell behavior and tissue differentiation and disease.  Specifically, we are interested in the role of small G proteins and their regulatory GEFS and GAPs in kidney, skin and cardiac development and disease including diabetic nephropathy.

 Peng Ji Lab

Role of MDia1 in the pathogenesis of del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes

Research Interests

Our lab is interested in how cytoskeletal signaling, motor proteins and adhesion systems are integrated with chemical signaling pathways to regulate cell behavior and tissue differentiation and disease. The Ji lab studies small G proteins and downstream actin regulatory effectors that participate in enucleation during red cell development.

At the level of the nucleus, the Ji laboratory studies genes involved in erythroid lineage commitment, chromatin condensation and enucleation towards understanding how congenital red cell disorders and leukemia develop. 

For more information, visit the faculty profile of Peng Ji, MD, PhD.


See Dr. Ji's publications in PubMed.


Dr. Ji

Contact Us

Kathleen J Green

Professor of Pathology (Experimental Pathology) and Dermatology

Rui Yi

Professor of Pathology (Experimental Pathology) and Dermatology

Peng Ji

Professor of Pathology (Experimental Pathology) and Pathology (Hematopathology)

Yashpal S Kanwar

Professor of Pathology (Experimental Pathology), Medicine (Nephrology and Hypertension) and Pathology (Renal Pathology)

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