The Pure laboratory is studying the cellular and molecular basis of inflammation and fibrosis, with a particular focus on the role of stromal cells and extracellular matrix (ECM), in the context of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. The molecular pathways currently being studied include the adhesion receptor CD44 and its principle ligand, hyaluronan, and fibroblast activation protein (FAP), a stromal cell surface protease. Studies of CD44 and FAP are being conducted in mouse models of cancer, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary fibrosis using conditional CD44 knockout mice and FAP-null mice generated in the lab. Also the FAP promoter has been exploited to generate mice that can be used to non-invasively image reactive stromal cells in fibrotic lesions and epithelial-derived tumors, to conditionally ablate reactive stromal cells, and to manipulate gene expression specifically in fibrotic lesions and tumor stromal cells. They are studying the impact of matrix modification on cell behavior directly through regulation of receptor mediated signal transduction as well as through modulation of tissue stiffness. They are also exploring the function of CD44 and FAP in human disease.