Training

Undergraduate mentored research

In the past eight years, we have mentored many undergraduate students. Each student is assigned a short project that is typically a small unit of the project of a graduate student who works with him/her. We prefer undergraduates to start research in their sophomore year. We have found that long-term commitment is key to gaining in-depth training at the bench. Thus, we encourage students to spend multiple semesters doing independent research in our lab. Research can be conducted for credit. To apply, send a resume highlighting your interests to Xin Sun.

Graduate mentored research

My laboratory is run primarily by graduate students. Providing them with high quality training has been my priority. I have been fortunate to attract excellent students to be part of the team. Nine of them have now obtained their Ph.D. degrees and have gone on to postdoctoral training. Six of them obtained their own predoctoral fellowships while in the lab. Two students were awarded the Schlimgen award for outstanding graduate student in the UW-Genetics program. One student was the first African American student to obtain a Ph.D. degree from the UW-Genetics program.

My philosophy of gradate training has centered around the following principles: 1) to offer hypothesis-driven independent projects that will enable students to claim ownership of the project; 2) to set common long-term goals; 3) to teach the skills for students to regularly update short-term targets on their own; and 4) to encourage communication within the lab, on campus, and at conferences.

Past Graduate Students

Kelsey Branchfield:
Genetics program, joined lab 1/2011, obtained Ph.D. 5/2015.  Kelsey was awarded the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. Currently in a Clinical Cytogenetics Fellowship program at Harvard University.

Publication:

Branchfield K, Nantie L, Verheyden JM, Sui P, Weinhold, MD, Sun X.  Pulmonary neuroendocrine cells function as airway sensors to control lung immune response. Science. 2016 Feb 12; 351(6274):707-10.

Branchfield K, Li R, Lungova V, Veheyden J, McCulley D, Sun X. A Three-Dimensional Study of Alveologenesis in Mouse Lung. Dev Biol. 2015 Nov 26.

Domyan, E. T., K. Branchfield, D. A. Gibson, L. A. Naiche, M. Lewandoski et al., 2013 Roundabout receptors are critical for foregut separation from the body wall. Dev Cell 24: 52-63.

John Herriges:
Genetics program, joined lab 1/2009, obtained Ph.D. 5/2014. John was awarded the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship.  Currently in a Clinical Cytogenetics Fellowship at the University of Utah.

Publication:

Herriges JC, Verheyden JM, Zhang Z, Sui P, Zhang Y, Anderson MJ, Swing DA, Zhang Y, Lewandoski M, Sun X. FGF-Regulated ETV Transcription Factors Control FGF-SHH Feedback Loop in Lung Branching. Dev Cell. 2015 Nov 9;35(3):322-32.

Herriges, J. C., L. Yi, E. A. Hines, J. F. Harvey, G. Xu et al., 2012 Genome-scale study of transcription factor expression in the branching mouse lung. Dev Dyn 241: 1432-1453.

Elizabeth Hines:
Genetics program, joined lab 1/2010, obtained Ph.D. 5/2014.  Elizabeth was award the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.  Currently a Senior Analyst at bioStrategies Group in Chicago.

Publication:

Hines EA, Verheyen JM, Lashua AJ, Larson SC, Brancfield K, Domyan ET, Gao J, Harvey JF, Herriges JC, Hu L, McCulley DJ, Throckmorton K, Yokoyama S, Ikeda A, Xu G, Sun X. Syndactyly in a novel Fras1rdf mutant results from interruption of signals for interdigital apoptosis. Dev Dyn. 2016 Jan 27.

Hines EA, Szakaly RJ, Leng N, Webster AT, Verheyden JM, Lashua AJ, Kendziorski C, Rosenthal LA, Gern JE, Sorkness RL, Sun X, Lemanske RF Jr. Comparison of temporal transcriptomic profiles from immature lungs of two rat strains reveals a viral response signature associated with chronic lung dysfunction. PLoS One. 2014 Dec 1;9(12):e112997.

Hines EA, Sun X. Tissue crosstalk in lung development. J Cell Biochem. 2014 Sep;115(9):1469-77.

Herriges, J. C., L. Yi, E. A. Hines, J. F. Harvey, G. Xu et al., 2012 Genome-scale study of transcription factor expression in the branching mouse lung. Dev Dyn 241: 1432-1453.

E. A. Hines, M. K. Jones, J. M. Verheyden, J. F. Harvey, and X. Sun, “Establishment of smooth muscle and cartilage juxtaposition in the developing mouse upper airways,” Proc. natl. acad. sci. u.s.a., vol. 110, iss. 48, pp. 19444-19449, 2013.

Kurt Throckmorton:
Genetics program, joined lab 1/2011.  Currently is a graduate student in Nancy Keller’s lab.

Eric Domyan:
UW-Genetics program, joined lab 1/2007, obtained Ph.D. 8/2011. Currently in postdoc training at the University of Utah in the Shapiro Lab. Eric was the 2011 recipient of the Schlimgen award for outstanding graduate student in the UW Genetics program.  Eric was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his work in the lab.

Publications:

Yi, L., Domyan, E.T., Lewandoski, M and Sun, X. (2009) Inactivation of Fibroblast Growth Factor 9 signaling in mouse lung reveals a requirement in airway smooth muscle development.Developmental Dynamics, 238:123-137. (selected for Highlights in DD, July 2009)

Harris-Johnson, K.S., Domyan, E.T., Vezina, C.M. and Sun, X. (2009) Beta-Catenin Promotes Respiratory Progenitor Identity in Mouse Foregut. PNAS 106(38), 16287-92.
Domyan, ET, Sun X. (2010) Patterning and plasticity in development of the respiratory lineage.Developmental Dynamics.

Domyan, ET, Ferretti E, Throckmorton K, Mishina Y, Nicolis SK, Sun X. (2011) Signaling through BMP receptors promotes respiratory identity in the foregut via repression of Sox2. Development(Cambridge, England). 138:971-981.

Domyan, E. T., K. Branchfield, D. A. Gibson, L. A. Naiche, M. Lewandoski et al., 2013 Roundabout receptors are critical for foregut separation from the body wall. Dev Cell 24: 52-63.

Zhen Zhang:
UW-Genetics program, joined lab 9/2003, obtained Ph.D. 7/2009. Currently in postdoc training at Genentech. Zhen was the 2009 recipient of the Schlimgen award for outstanding graduate student in the UW Genetics program.

Publications:

Harris, K.S., Zhang, Z., McManus, M.T., Harfe, B.D. and Sun, X. (2006) Dicer function is essential for lung epithelium morphogenesis. PNAS 103 (7), 2208-2213.

Norman RX, Ko HW, Huang V, Eun CM, Abler LL, Zhang Z, Sun X, Eggenschwiler JT. Tubby-like protein 3 (TULP3) regulates patterning in the mouse embryo through inhibition of Hedgehog signaling. (2009) Hum Mol Genet. 18(10): 1740-1754.

Zhang, Z., Verheyden, J.M. and Sun, X. (2009) FGF-regulated Etv genes are essential for repressing Shh expression in mouse limb buds. Developmental Cell 16, 607-613.

Zhang, Z, Sui P, Dong A, Hassell J, Cserjesi P, Chen YT, Behringer RR, Sun X. 2010. Preaxial polydactyly: interactions among ETV, TWIST1 and HAND2 control anterior-posterior patterning of the limb. Development (Cambridge, England). 137:3417-3426.

Zhang, Z, O’Rourke JR, McManus MT, Lewandoski M, Harfe BD, Sun X. (2011) The microRNA-processing enzyme Dicer is dispensable for somite segmentation but essential for limb bud positioning. Developmental Biology. 351:254-265.

Lisa Abler:
UW-Cell and Molecular Biology program, joined lab 1/2004, obtained Ph.D. 1/2009. During her postdoc in Chad Vezina’s lab at UW-Madison, Lisa recieved a Master’s degree from the School of Library and Information Science.  She is currently an Assistant Scientist in the Vezina Lab.

Publications:

Norman RX, Ko HW, Huang V, Eun CM, Abler LL, Zhang Z, Sun X, Eggenschwiler JT. Tubby-like protein 3 (TULP3) regulates patterning in the mouse embryo through inhibition of Hedgehog signaling. (2009) Hum Mol Genet. 18(10): 1740-1754.

Abler, L.L., Mansour, S. and Sun, X. (2009) Conditional Gene Inactivation Reveals Roles for Fgf10and Fgfr2 in Establishing a Normal Pattern of Epithelial Branching in the Mouse Lung.Developmental Dynamics, 238(8):1999-2013.

Kelley Harris-Johnson:
UW-Genetics program, joined lab 1/2004, obtained Ph.D. 8/2008. Currently a Student Services Program Manager in the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kelley was supported by the Packard Foundation predoctoral fellowship. She is the first African American student who obtained a Ph.D. degree from the UW-Genetics training program.

Publications:

Harris, K.S., Zhang, Z., McManus, M.T., Harfe, B.D. and Sun, X. (2006) Dicer function is essential for lung epithelium morphogenesis. PNAS 103 (7), 2208-2213.

Harris-Johnson, K.S., Domyan, E.T., Vezina, C.M. and Sun, X. (2009) Beta-Catenin Promotes Respiratory Progenitor Identity in Mouse Foregut. PNAS 106(38), 16287-92.

Jamie Verheyden:
UW-Genetics program, joined lab 1/2003, obtained Ph.D. 5/2008. Jamie returned to the lab as an assistant scientist following his postdoc training at the Gladstone Institute and UW-Madison.

Publications:

Verheyden, J. M, Lewandoski, M., Deng, C.X., Harfe, B.D. and Sun, X. (2005) Conditional inactivation of Fgfr1 in mouse defines its role in limb bud establishment, outgrowth and digit patterning. Development 132, 4235-4245.

Verheyden, J.M. and Sun, X. (2008) An Fgf/Gremlin Inhibitory feedback loop triggers termination of limb bud outgrowth. Nature 454, 638-641.

Zhang, Z., Verheyden, J.M. and Sun, X. (2009) FGF-regulated Etv genes are essential for repressing Shh expression in mouse limb buds. Developmental Cell 16, 607-613.

Lan Yi:
UW-Genetics program, joined lab 1/2003, obtained Ph.D. 12/2007. Currently in postdoc training. Lan was awarded the American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship for her work in the lab.

Publications:

Yi, L., Domyan, E.T., Lewandoski, M and Sun, X. (2009) Inactivation of Fibroblast Growth Factor 9signaling in mouse lung reveals a requirement in airway smooth muscle development.Developmental Dynamics, 238:123-137. (selected for Highlights in DD, July 2009)

Herriges, J. C., L. Yi, E. A. Hines, J. F. Harvey, G. Xu et al., 2012 Genome-scale study of transcription factor expression in the branching mouse lung. Dev Dyn 241: 1432-1453.