Thiennu Vu, MD, PhD

Title(s)Associate Professor, Medicine
SchoolSchool of Medicine
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    University of California, San FranciscoPost-Doc Fellow/Scholar1996 Medicine
    University of California, San FranciscoM.D.1991 Medicine
    University of California, San FranciscoPh.D.1990 Graduate Division (Cell Biology)

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Dr. Vu received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco in 1991 after completion of the Medical Scientist Training Program. She completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and a Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSF. Besides engaging in basic research, she also practices clinical medicine, serving as attending physician in the San Francisco Department of Public Health Tuberculosis control clinic and in the UCSF Parnassus Chest clinic.

    Research Interests:

    1) The role of the vasculature in organogenesis: We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of tissue vascularization and the role of the vasculature in tissue formation. Our hypothesis is that there are reciprocal inductive interactions between the tissue and its vasculature during organogenesis. This is strongly suggested in the lungs by the intimate relationship between airways and lung blood vessels, which is critical for normal lung function. Our goals are to identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate the cross talk between epithelium and mesenchyme to coordinate airway and vessel development during lung formation.

    2) The development of pulmonary alveoli: Another area of interest of the lab is the development of the distal lung, namely, the formation of alveoli. These are key functional units of the lungs where gas exchange takes place, yet the regulation of alveolar morphogenesis is not well understood. Our hypothesis is that since the formation of alveoli occurs in a defined period, genes that regulate alveolar morphogenesis must be differentially expressed during periods of active and inactive alveolar formation. We are attempting to identify genes that regulate alveolar development by isolating genes differentially expressed between these stages. The role of candidate genes will then be tested using gain- and loss-of function studies both in vitro and in vivo.

    3) The development and function of lung myofibroblasts: Lung myofibroblasts are interstitial smooth muscle-like cells that are essential for alveolar development. They are also implicated in the pathogenesis of many lung diseases including pulmonary fibrosis. The regulation of myofibroblast development and function is not well understood. We are interested in identifying the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate myofibroblasts in development and in disease.

    4) The biology of lung progenitor and stem cells: As a rule the adult lungs do not regenerate and the response to lung injury in many cases is fibrosis. We are interested in identifying whether there are populations of progenitor or stem cells in the adult lungs that can be stimulated to repair and regenerate damaged lungs. We are also interested in identifying conditions that support the growth and differentiation of resident lung progenitor and stem cells or that induce bone marrow derived stem cells to populate and regenerate lung tissues.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Notch Signaling in Lung Vascularization and Development
    NIH/NHLBI R01HL075680Sep 30, 2003 - Aug 31, 2008
    Role: Principal Investigator
    The Regulation of Pulmonary Vascular Development
    NIH/NHLBI K02HL073823Aug 1, 2003 - Jul 31, 2008
    Role: Principal Investigator
    The Function of VEGF Family in Lung Vascular Development
    NIH/NHLBI R01HL069925Apr 1, 2002 - Mar 31, 2007
    Role: Principal Investigator
    NIH/NHLBI K08HL003880Aug 1, 1998 - Jul 31, 2003
    Role: Principal Investigator

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    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Zhu W, Shen F, Mao L, Zhan L, Kang S, Sun Z, Nelson J, Zhang R, Zou D, McDougall CM, Lawton MT, Vu TH, Wu Z, Scaria A, Colosi P, Forsayeth J, Su H. Soluble FLT1 Gene Therapy Alleviates Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Severity. Stroke. 2017 05; 48(5):1420-1423. PMID: 28325846.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Yun EJ, Lorizio W, Seedorf G, Abman SH, Vu TH. VEGF and endothelium-derived retinoic acid regulate lung vascular and alveolar development. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2016 Feb 15; 310(4):L287-98. PMID: 26566904.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Hogan BL, Barkauskas CE, Chapman HA, Epstein JA, Jain R, Hsia CC, Niklason L, Calle E, Le A, Randell SH, Rock J, Snitow M, Krummel M, Stripp BR, Vu T, White ES, Whitsett JA, Morrisey EE. Repair and regeneration of the respiratory system: complexity, plasticity, and mechanisms of lung stem cell function. Cell Stem Cell. 2014 Aug 07; 15(2):123-38. PMID: 25105578; PMCID: PMC4212493.
    4. Yun EJ, Vu TH. mSmile is necessary for bronchial smooth muscle and alveolar myofibroblast development. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2012 Jan; 295(1):167-76. PMID: 21956870.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Chapman HA, Li X, Alexander JP, Brumwell A, Lorizio W, Tan K, Sonnenberg A, Wei Y, Vu TH. Integrin a6ß4 identifies an adult distal lung epithelial population with regenerative potential in mice. J Clin Invest. 2011 Jul; 121(7):2855-62. PMID: 21701069; PMCID: PMC3223845.
    6. Ortega N, Wang K, Ferrara N, Werb Z, Vu TH. Complementary interplay between matrix metalloproteinase-9, vascular endothelial growth factor and osteoclast function drives endochondral bone formation. Dis Model Mech. 2010 Mar-Apr; 3(3-4):224-35. PMID: 20142327; PMCID: PMC2869494.
    7. Kim N, Yamamoto H, Pauling MH, Lorizio W, Vu TH. Ablation of lung epithelial cells deregulates FGF-10 expression and impairs lung branching morphogenesis. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2009 Jan; 292(1):123-30. PMID: 19115389.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Leung JK, Cases S, Vu TH. P311 functions in an alternative pathway of lipid accumulation that is induced by retinoic acid. J Cell Sci. 2008 Aug 15; 121(Pt 16):2751-8. PMID: 18664493.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Yamamoto H, Yun EJ, Gerber HP, Ferrara N, Whitsett JA, Vu TH. Epithelial-vascular cross talk mediated by VEGF-A and HGF signaling directs primary septae formation during distal lung morphogenesis. Dev Biol. 2007 Aug 01; 308(1):44-53. PMID: 17583691.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Kim N, Vu TH. Parabronchial smooth muscle cells and alveolar myofibroblasts in lung development. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2006 Mar; 78(1):80-9. PMID: 16622850.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Zhao L, Leung JK, Yamamoto H, Goswami S, Kheradmand F, Vu TH. Identification of P311 as a potential gene regulating alveolar generation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2006 Jul; 35(1):48-54. PMID: 16484684; PMCID: PMC2658697.
    12. Hartenstein B, Dittrich BT, Stickens D, Heyer B, Vu TH, Teurich S, Schorpp-Kistner M, Werb Z, Angel P. Epidermal development and wound healing in matrix metalloproteinase 13-deficient mice. J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Feb; 126(2):486-96. PMID: 16374453; PMCID: PMC2767339.
    13. Zhao L, Wang K, Ferrara N, Vu TH. Vascular endothelial growth factor co-ordinates proper development of lung epithelium and vasculature. Mech Dev. 2005 Jul; 122(7-8):877-86. PMID: 15927453.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Wang K, Yamamoto H, Chin JR, Werb Z, Vu TH. Epidermal growth factor receptor-deficient mice have delayed primary endochondral ossification because of defective osteoclast recruitment. J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 17; 279(51):53848-56. PMID: 15456762; PMCID: PMC2779713.
    15. Pauling MH, Vu TH. Mechanisms and regulation of lung vascular development. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2004; 64:73-99. PMID: 15563945.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Vu TH, Alemayehu Y, Werb Z. New insights into saccular development and vascular formation in lung allografts under the renal capsule. Mech Dev. 2003 Mar; 120(3):305-13. PMID: 12591600; PMCID: PMC2774927.
    17. Vu TH. Don't mess with the matrix. Nat Genet. 2001 Jul; 28(3):202-3. PMID: 11431682.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Engsig MT, Chen QJ, Vu TH, Pedersen AC, Therkidsen B, Lund LR, Henriksen K, Lenhard T, Foged NT, Werb Z, Delaissé JM. Matrix metalloproteinase 9 and vascular endothelial growth factor are essential for osteoclast recruitment into developing long bones. J Cell Biol. 2000 Nov 13; 151(4):879-89. PMID: 11076971; PMCID: PMC2169432.
    19. Bergers G, Brekken R, McMahon G, Vu TH, Itoh T, Tamaki K, Tanzawa K, Thorpe P, Itohara S, Werb Z, Hanahan D. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 triggers the angiogenic switch during carcinogenesis. Nat Cell Biol. 2000 Oct; 2(10):737-44. PMID: 11025665; PMCID: PMC2852586.
    20. Vu TH, Werb Z. Matrix metalloproteinases: effectors of development and normal physiology. Genes Dev. 2000 Sep 01; 14(17):2123-33. PMID: 10970876.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Delaissé JM, Engsig MT, Everts V, del Carmen Ovejero M, Ferreras M, Lund L, Vu TH, Werb Z, Winding B, Lochter A, Karsdal MA, Troen T, Kirkegaard T, Lenhard T, Heegaard AM, Neff L, Baron R, Foged NT. Proteinases in bone resorption: obvious and less obvious roles. Clin Chim Acta. 2000 Feb 15; 291(2):223-34. PMID: 10675725.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Gerber HP, Vu TH, Ryan AM, Kowalski J, Werb Z, Ferrara N. VEGF couples hypertrophic cartilage remodeling, ossification and angiogenesis during endochondral bone formation. Nat Med. 1999 Jun; 5(6):623-8. PMID: 10371499.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Werb Z, Vu TH, Rinkenberger JL, Coussens LM. Matrix-degrading proteases and angiogenesis during development and tumor formation. APMIS. 1999 Jan; 107(1):11-8. PMID: 10190275.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Liu Z, Shipley JM, Vu TH, Zhou X, Diaz LA, Werb Z, Senior RM. Gelatinase B-deficient mice are resistant to experimental bullous pemphigoid. J Exp Med. 1998 Aug 03; 188(3):475-82. PMID: 9687525; PMCID: PMC2212482.
    25. Vu TH, Shipley JM, Bergers G, Berger JE, Helms JA, Hanahan D, Shapiro SD, Senior RM, Werb Z. MMP-9/gelatinase B is a key regulator of growth plate angiogenesis and apoptosis of hypertrophic chondrocytes. Cell. 1998 May 01; 93(3):411-22. PMID: 9590175; PMCID: PMC2839071.