Global Conference on Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine | September 29, 30 - October 01, 2022 | Online

Yong Zhou

The University of Alabama, USA


Normal structure and function of the lung is maintained in homeostasis and repaired/regenerated following diverse injuries by regionally defined stem/progenitor cells. Stem cells reside in unique tissue microenvironments, known as the stem cell “niche”. The stem cell niche provides instructive cues for self-renewal and differentiation of stem cells. Stiffening of the extracellular matrix (ECM) is a cardinal feature of pulmonary fibrosis. Stem cells and their niche cells can sense and respond to changes in the matrix stiffness, implicating that matrix stiffness may be an important component of the stem cell niche. Studies in my laboratory investigate the potential role of niche stiffness in regulating alveolar epithelial progenitor cell properties and mesenchymal niche cell fate; and understand the impact of mechano-niche on lung repair and regeneration following injury. Deciphering the mechanisms by which lung stem cells interact with mechano-niche in normal vs. pathological repair of the injured lung will provide novel therapeutic approaches to prevent, treat, and potentially reverse pulmonary fibrosis.

Audience Take Away:

  • Establish a novel concept of mechano-niche in lung stem cell biology
  • Learn state-of-the-art alveolar organoid culture in stiffness-tunable 3D hydrogels
  • Characterization of niche stiffness by atomic force microscopy and lineage-tracing mice


Dr. Zhou is Professor of Medicine at University of Alabama at Birmingham. Research in his laboratory is in area of lung tissue injury, repair, and regeneration, with a focus on the mechanopathobiology of pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers, many on the high impact journals. He currently serve on the editorial board of American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. His laboratory has been continuously funded by NIH, AHA, and ATS Research Foundation in the last 15 years.