Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Menko Laboratory


Immune cells that are recruited to dysgenic lenses are signaled to become myofibroblasts

Uncovering the signals that regulate the decision of undifferentiated cells to embark on their differentiation pathway, and those required for their terminal differentiation, is crucial to understanding the processes of tissue development and how these mechanisms can be promoted for the regenerative repair of tissues subject to injury or disease. With the developing lens as our study model, a tissue where the precise regulation of cell differentiation and morphogenesis are key to its function, we examine these questions using molecular, biochemical and cell-imaging approaches. In our studies of regenerative repair of the lens, long-considered an immune privileged tissue, we discovered a previously unknown subpopulation of resident mesenchymal repair-modulating cells, including immune cells, and the recruitment of extrinsic immune cells in response to injury and dysgenesis. Using both a clinically relevant ex vivo mock cataract surgery model and a genetic model of lens dysmorphogenesis and opacity, we are studying the role of immune cells in the regenerative repair of the lens and how the microenvironment induces these repair cells to instead become the myofibroblasts that underlie diseases associated with fibrosis.



Sue Menko, PhD

Contact Dr. Menko

Jefferson Alumni Hall 
1020 Locust Street
Room 564
Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 503-2166