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Carla  Kim, PhD

Carla Kim
Kim Laboratory
Research Center:
Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Stem Cell Program
Medicine Research
Hematology/Oncology Research
Hospital Title:
Principal Faculty, Stem Cell Program
Academic Title:
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:
Lung Stem Cells and Lung Cancer
Contact Via Email
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Research Overview

The broad interest of the Kim Lab is to characterize the biology of stem cells in normal lung and lung cancer. Numerous lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease involve injured or depleted bronchiolar or alveolar epithelium. Bronchiolar and alveolar cells are also affected in adenocarcinoma, the most common form of lung cancer. It is likely that lung stem cells are critically affected in patients with these devastating diseases. The lab's long-term goal is to elucidate the role of stem cells in lung homeostasis as a prerequisite to the development of therapeutic strategies that can be used to prevent or attenuate lung disease. Dr. Kim and her colleagues isolated the first stem cell population from the adult murine lung, termed bronchioalveolar stem cells (BASCs). BASCs are critically affected by an oncogenic K-ras mutation and may be the cell-of-origin of lung adenocarcinomas. They hypothesize that BASCs are the stem cells that maintain bronchiolar and alveolar cell homeostasis in vivo. They use a combination of mouse genetics, cell biology and genomics approaches to elucidate the biology of these cells during homeostasis and tumorigenesis. The Kim Lab is now focused on two major questions involving lung stem cells. First, they have created important tools to test the potential of BASCs. Expanding on work showing that BASCs are multipotent in standard culture conditions, it will be important to determine the potential of isolated BASCs to produce lung epithelial cells in animal models. They have developed unique three-dimensional culture systems and transplantation methods to show if BASCs can give rise to bronchiolar and alveolar cells. Complementing a transplantation assay, lineage tracing is being performed to assess the potency of BASCs without removing them from the lung. Secondly, they are also using preclinical models of lung injury and lung cancer to elucidate how lung disease impacts lung stem cell function in human and murine samples. Their work will provide the foundation required for innovative approaches to examine the cellular and molecular basis of cancer and other diseases that effect lung epithelia as well as serving to identify potential means of early detection and therapy.

About Carla Kim

Carla Kim is interested in the relationships between stem cell biology, cancer biology, and lung biology. She earned her PhD in Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She went on to a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Tyler Jacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research. There, she developed a method to isolate the first stem cell population from the adult murine lung, termed bronchioalveolar stem cells (BASCs). She also showed that BASCs are critically affected by an oncogenic K-ras mutation and may be the cell-of-origin of lung adenocarcinomas. In addition to her work at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kim is a principal faculty and executive committee member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. She is also a member of the Lung Cancer Program at the Dana Farber/Havard Cancer Center Lung Cancer Program. Dr. Kim has recently been honored with the Lung Cancer Research Foundation’s William Rippe Award for Distinguished Research in Lung Cancer and Ohio Northern University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. For more information on Dr. Kim, her lab and their research, please go to 


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles
  1. Zhang H, Qi J, Reyes JM, Li L, Rao PK, Li F, Lin CY, Perry JA, Lawlor MA, Federation A, De Raedt T, Li YY, Liu Y, Duarte MA, Zhang Y, Herter-Sprie GS, Kikuchi E, Carretero J, Perou CM, Reibel JB, Paulk J, Bronson RT, Watanabe H, Brainson CF, Kim CF, Hammerman PS, Brown M, Cichowski K, Long H, Bradner JE, Wong KK. Oncogenic Deregulation of EZH2 as an Opportunity for Targeted Therapy in Lung Cancer. Cancer Discov. 2016 Sep; 6(9):1006-21.
  2. Mahoney JE, Kim CF. Tracing the potential of lung progenitors. Nat Biotechnol. 2015 Feb; 33(2):152-4.
  3. Fillmore CM, Xu C, Desai PT, Berry JM, Rowbotham SP, Lin YJ, Zhang H, Marquez VE, Hammerman PS, Wong KK, Kim CF. EZH2 inhibition sensitizes BRG1 and EGFR mutant lung tumours to TopoII inhibitors. Nature. 2015 Apr 9; 520(7546):239-42.
  4. Lee JH, Kim CF. Developmental biology. Mesenchymal progenitor panoply. Science. 2014 Nov 14; 346(6211):810-1.
  5. Casey A, Dirks F, Liang OD, Harrach H, Schuette-Nuetgen K, Leeman K, Kim CF, Gerard C, Subramaniam M. Bone marrow-derived multipotent stromal cells attenuate inflammation in obliterative airway disease in mouse tracheal allografts. Stem Cells Int. 2014; 2014:468927.
  6. Chen Z, Fillmore CM, Hammerman PS, Kim CF, Wong KK. Non-small-cell lung cancers: a heterogeneous set of diseases. Nat Rev Cancer. 2014 Aug; 14(8):535-46.
  7. Lau AN, Curtis SJ, Fillmore CM, Rowbotham SP, Mohseni M, Wagner DE, Beede AM, Montoro DT, Sinkevicius KW, Walton ZE, Barrios J, Weiss DJ, Camargo FD, Wong KK, Kim CF. Tumor-propagating cells and Yap/Taz activity contribute to lung tumor progression and metastasis. EMBO J. 2014 Jul 1; 33(13):1502.
  8. Sinkevicius KW, Kriegel C, Bellaria KJ, Lee J, Lau AN, Leeman KT, Zhou P, Beede AM, Fillmore CM, Caswell D, Barrios J, Wong KK, Sholl LM, Schlaeger TM, Bronson RT, Chirieac LR, Winslow MM, Haigis MC, Kim CF. Neurotrophin receptor TrkB promotes lung adenocarcinoma metastasis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 15; 111(28):10299-304.
  9. Xu C, Fillmore CM, Koyama S, Wu H, Zhao Y, Chen Z, Herter-Sprie GS, Akbay EA, Tchaicha JH, Altabef A, Reibel JB, Walton Z, Ji H, Watanabe H, Jänne PA, Castrillon DH, Rustgi AK, Bass AJ, Freeman GJ, Padera RF, Dranoff G, Hammerman PS, Kim CF, Wong KK. Loss of Lkb1 and Pten leads to lung squamous cell carcinoma with elevated PD-L1 expression. Cancer Cell. 2014 May 12; 25(5):590-604.
  10. Rowbotham SP, Kim CF. Diverse cells at the origin of lung adenocarcinoma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Apr 1; 111(13):4745-6.
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  12. Lau AN, Curtis SJ, Fillmore CM, Rowbotham SP, Mohseni M, Wagner DE, Beede AM, Montoro DT, Sinkevicius KW, Walton ZE, Barrios J, Weiss DJ, Camargo FD, Wong KK, Kim CF. Tumor-propagating cells and Yap/Taz activity contribute to lung tumor progression and metastasis. EMBO J. 2014 Mar 3; 33(5):468-81.
  13. Lee JH, Bhang DH, Beede A, Huang TL, Stripp BR, Bloch KD, Wagers AJ, Tseng YH, Ryeom S, Kim CF. Lung stem cell differentiation in mice directed by endothelial cells via a BMP4-NFATc1-thrombospondin-1 axis. Cell. 2014 Jan 30; 156(3):440-55.
  14. Leeman KT, Fillmore CM, Kim CF. Lung stem and progenitor cells in tissue homeostasis and disease. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2014; 107:207-33.
  15. Kassmer SH, Jin H, Zhang PX, Bruscia EM, Heydari K, Lee JH, Kim CF, Kassmer SH, Krause DS, Krouse D. Very small embryonic-like stem cells from the murine bone marrow differentiate into epithelial cells of the lung. Stem Cells. 2013 Dec; 31(12):2759-66.
  16. Baek KH, Bhang D, Zaslavsky A, Wang LC, Vachani A, Kim CF, Albelda SM, Evan GI, Ryeom S. Thrombospondin-1 mediates oncogenic Ras-induced senescence in premalignant lung tumors. J Clin Invest. 2013 Oct; 123(10):4375-89.
  17. Lee JH, Kim J, Gludish D, Roach RR, Saunders AH, Barrios J, Woo AJ, Chen H, Conner DA, Fujiwara Y, Stripp BR, Kim CF. Surfactant protein-C chromatin-bound green fluorescence protein reporter mice reveal heterogeneity of surfactant protein C-expressing lung cells. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Mar; 48(3):288-98.
  18. Chen H, Matsumoto K, Brockway BL, Rackley CR, Liang J, Lee JH, Jiang D, Noble PW, Randell SH, Kim CF, Stripp BR. Airway epithelial progenitors are region specific and show differential responses to bleomycin-induced lung injury. Stem Cells. 2012 Sep; 30(9):1948-60.
  19. Castaño Z, Fillmore CM, Kim CF, McAllister SS. The bed and the bugs: interactions between the tumor microenvironment and cancer stem cells. Semin Cancer Biol. 2012 Oct; 22(5-6):462-70.
  20. Lau AN, Goodwin M, Kim CF, Weiss DJ. Stem cells and regenerative medicine in lung biology and diseases. Mol Ther. 2012 Jun; 20(6):1116-30.
  21. Tropea KA, Leder E, Aslam M, Lau AN, Raiser DM, Lee JH, Balasubramaniam V, Fredenburgh LE, Alex Mitsialis S, Kourembanas S, Kim CF. Bronchioalveolar stem cells increase after mesenchymal stromal cell treatment in a mouse model of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2012 May 1; 302(9):L829-37.
  22. Yu M, Mazor T, Huang H, Huang HT, Kathrein KL, Woo AJ, Chouinard CR, Labadorf A, Akie TE, Moran TB, Xie H, Zacharek S, Taniuchi I, Roeder RG, Kim CF, Zon LI, Fraenkel E, Cantor AB. Direct recruitment of polycomb repressive complex 1 to chromatin by core binding transcription factors. Mol Cell. 2012 Feb 10; 45(3):330-43.
  23. Driscoll B, Kikuchi A, Lau AN, Lee J, Reddy R, Jesudason E, Kim CF, Warburton D. Isolation and characterization of distal lung progenitor cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2012; 879:109-22.
  24. Zacharek SJ, Fillmore CM, Lau AN, Gludish DW, Chou A, Ho JW, Zamponi R, Gazit R, Bock C, Jäger N, Smith ZD, Kim TM, Saunders AH, Wong J, Lee JH, Roach RR, Rossi DJ, Meissner A, Gimelbrant AA, Park PJ, Kim CF. Lung stem cell self-renewal relies on BMI1-dependent control of expression at imprinted loci. Cell Stem Cell. 2011 Sep 2; 9(3):272-81.
  25. Park KS, Liang MC, Raiser DM, Zamponi R, Roach RR, Curtis SJ, Walton Z, Schaffer BE, Roake CM, Zmoos AF, Kriegel C, Wong KK, Sage J, Kim CF. Characterization of the cell of origin for small cell lung cancer. Cell Cycle. 2011 Aug 15; 10(16):2806-15.
  26. Curtis SJ, Sinkevicius KW, Li D, Lau AN, Roach RR, Zamponi R, Woolfenden AE, Kirsch DG, Wong KK, Kim CF. Primary tumor genotype is an important determinant in identification of lung cancer propagating cells. Cell Stem Cell. 2010 Jul 2; 7(1):127-33.
  27. Kirsch DG, Santiago PM, di Tomaso E, Sullivan JM, Hou WS, Dayton T, Jeffords LB, Sodha P, Mercer KL, Cohen R, Takeuchi O, Korsmeyer SJ, Bronson RT, Kim CF, Haigis KM, Jain RK, Jacks T. p53 controls radiation-induced gastrointestinal syndrome in mice independent of apoptosis. Science. 2010 Jan 29; 327(5965):593-6.
  28. Alexander CM, Puchalski J, Klos KS, Badders N, Ailles L, Kim CF, Dirks P, Smalley MJ. Separating stem cells by flow cytometry: reducing variability for solid tissues. Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Dec 4; 5(6):579-83.
  29. Hoffman AM, Shifren A, Mazan MR, Gruntman AM, Lascola KM, Nolen-Walston RD, Kim CF, Tsai L, Pierce RA, Mecham RP, Ingenito EP. Matrix modulation of compensatory lung regrowth and progenitor cell proliferation in mice. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2010 Feb; 298(2):L158-68.
  30. Raiser DM, Kim CF. Commentary: Sca-1 and Cells of the Lung: A matter of Different Sorts. Stem Cells. 2009 Mar; 27(3):606-11.
  31. Raiser DM, Zacharek SJ, Roach RR, Curtis SJ, Sinkevicius KW, Gludish DW, Kim CF. Stem cell biology in the lung and lung cancers: using pulmonary context and classic approaches. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2008; 73:479-90.
  32. Dovey JS, Zacharek SJ, Kim CF, Lees JA. Bmi1 is critical for lung tumorigenesis and bronchioalveolar stem cell expansion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Aug 19; 105(33):11857-62.
  33. Nolen-Walston RD, Kim CF, Mazan MR, Ingenito EP, Gruntman AM, Tsai L, Boston R, Woolfenden AE, Jacks T, Hoffman AM. Cellular kinetics and modeling of bronchioalveolar stem cell response during lung regeneration. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2008 Jun; 294(6):L1158-65.
  34. Morales M, Theunissen JW, Kim CF, Kitagawa R, Kastan MB, Petrini JH. The Rad50S allele promotes ATM-dependent DNA damage responses and suppresses ATM deficiency: implications for the Mre11 complex as a DNA damage sensor. Genes Dev. 2005 Dec 15; 19(24):3043-54.
  35. Grimm J, Kirsch DG, Windsor SD, Kim CF, Santiago PM, Ntziachristos V, Jacks T, Weissleder R. Use of gene expression profiling to direct in vivo molecular imaging of lung cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 4; 102(40):14404-9.
  36. Kim CF, Jackson EL, Woolfenden AE, Lawrence S, Babar I, Vogel S, Crowley D, Bronson RT, Jacks T. Identification of bronchioalveolar stem cells in normal lung and lung cancer. Cell. 2005 Jun 17; 121(6):823-35.
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Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is one of the top research centers in the world for pediatric cancers and blood diseases. It brings together laboratory scientists and clinical researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital in a single program. We investigate pediatric cancers and non-malignant blood disorders from every angle—from examining cells under the microscope to tracking the effectiveness of current drug regimens using the most advanced molecular methods—so that we can create better treatments for children seen here and around the world.

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