Mini Lungs

Take a deep breath… or a miniature one!


This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.


Scientists want to learn more about how viruses like Covid-19 are able to infiltrate our lungs. However, research using real patients can be challenging, since each patient’s lungs can be very different. 

Edwin Rosado-Olivieri and team from Rockefeller University tackled this problem by building their own! They used stem cells to build MINI versions of human lungs! 

They can be produced by the THOUSANDS, all identical! The team infected the “mini” lungs with SARS CoV 2 to observe how it infects cells. They found that SARS CoV 2 prefers to attack lung sacs, rather than airway cells. It also induces a signaling pathway that makes lung cells more susceptible to infection. 


The “mini” lung platform may allow researchers to learn more about coronaviruses, including future treatments! This platform can also help us learn about other lung illnesses in the future…


So, we can breathe a LITTLE easier! Ah….


Rosado-Olivieri, E. A., Razooky, B., Le Pen, J., De Santis, R., Barrows, D., Sabry, Z., Hoffmann, H.-H., Park, J., Carroll, T. S., Poirier, J. T., Rice, C. M., & Brivanlou, A. H. (2023). Organotypic human lung bud microarrays identify BMP-dependent SARS-COV-2 infection in lung cells. Stem Cell Reports, 18(5), 1107–1122.