Dr. Brigitte Gomperts' research focuses on the role of adult stem cells in repair and regeneration of the lungs. The goal of her research is to understand the normal repair processes in the airway that recapitulate lung development. Studying these adult stem cells in repair and regeneration of the lungs may, therefore, also provide new insights into diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and bronchiolitis obliterans. The ultimate goal is to use this knowledge to develop novel targeted therapies and prevention strategies for lung diseases.
For example, Gomperts identified a progenitor cell population that is important in airway epithelial repair, but persists in premalignant lesions and is associated with a poor prognosis in lung tumors. This finding may help predict patients with a higher likelihood of recurrence of their lung cancer and also suggests that this progenitor cell population may be the tumor-initiating cell for some lung cancers. Thus, understanding the biology of these progenitor cells may help develop therapies to prevent the development of lung cancer.
A member of the UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Gomperts is an associate professor of pediatric hematology/oncology. She joined the UCLA faculty in 2003 after completing a pediatric residency and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She earned her medical degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Gomperts is also affiliated with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and the Molecular Biology Institute. She's a member of the American Thoracic Society, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Society for Stem Cell Research.
Ooi AT, Gomperts BN. Molecular Pathways: Targeting Cellular Energy Metabolism in Cancer via Inhibition of SLC2A1 and LDHA. Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Jun 1;21(11):2440-4. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-1209. Epub 2015 Apr 2.
Ooi AT, Gower AC, Zhang KX, Vick JL, Hong L, Nagao B, Wallace WD, Elashoff DA, Walser TC, Dubinett SM, Pellegrini M, Lenburg ME, Spira A, Gomperts BN. Molecular profiling of premalignant lesions in lung squamous cell carcinomas identifies mechanisms involved in stepwise carcinogenesis. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 May;7(5):487-95. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0372. Epub 2014 Mar 11.
Paul MK, Bisht B, Darmawan DO, Chiou R, Ha VL, Wallace WD, Chon AT, Hegab AE, Grogan T, Elashoff DA, Alva-Ornelas JA, Gomperts BN. Dynamic changes in intracellular ROS levels regulate airway basal stem cell homeostasis through Nrf2-dependent Notch signaling. Cell Stem Cell. 2014 Aug 7;15(2):199-214. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.05.009. Epub 2014 Jun 19.
Perdomo C, Campbell JD, Gerrein J, Tellez CS, Garrison CB, Walser TC, Drizik E, Si H, Gower AC, Vick J, Anderlind C, Jackson GR, Mankus C, Schembri F, O'Hara C, Gomperts BN, Dubinett SM, Hayden P, Belinsky SA, Lenburg ME, Spira A. MicroRNA 4423 is a primate-specific regulator of airway epithelial cell differentiation and lung carcinogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Nov 19;110(47):18946-51. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1220319110. Epub 2013 Oct 24.
Gomperts BN, Walser TC, Spira A, Dubinett SM. Enriching the molecular definition of the airway "field of cancerization:" establishing new paradigms for the patient at risk for lung cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 Jan;6(1):4-7. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0470. Epub 2012 Dec 11.