Many human diseases are a result of either a deficit or surfeit in the quantity or functionality of particular cell types. Although the principles of cell fate specification during embryogenesis are rather well documented, it is unclear what mechanisms are used to maintain cell identity and appropriate cell numbers in adult tissues. While the cell autonomous molecular processes defining cell states in both physiological and pathological conditions are being defined with increasing precision using genome-wide inventories, the question of when and how individual cell types interact with one another to maintain their identity remains largely unresolved. Thus, the Tata lab focuses on the following three main ideas:
i) Defining the cellular heterogeneity and the lineage hierarchies in epithelial tissues
ii) How do individual cells maintain their identity under steady state conditions and in the context of regeneration?
ii) The genetic and epigenetic basis of tissue plasticity associated with regeneration and tumorigenesis
The Tata lab focuses on understanding the ensemble properties of tissues in the context of development, homeostasis, regeneration and tumorigenesis in diverse epithelial tissues, including the lung. We use mouse models of disease that recapitulate human pathology. We utilize genetic, live imaging, cell biological and next generation sequencing technologies including single-cell RNA sequencing to study the behavior of tissues at single cell level.