El Agha Lab

Focus of Research

The El Agha lab focuses on applying developmental paradigms to understand normal lung homeostasis and regeneration, particularly in regard to lung remodeling and reverse remodeling in response to pathogen-induced lung injury and repair. The scientific investigations involve the use of basic and translational approaches to interrogate key signaling pathways, growth factors and other signaling mediators that are also important for normal lung development.

Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions graphic

For more details, please refer to the following page:

Prof. Dr. Elie El Agha
Prof. Dr. Elie El Agha, PhD

Lab Members

PhD candidates

Ali Khadim Herold Lab

Ali Khadim, M.Sc.

Project description: This project aims to study mesenchymal lineage formation throughout the life span of the mammalian lung and the involvement of developmental mechanisms in lung homeostasis, repair and regeneration.

George Kiliaris

George Kiliaris, M.Sc.

Project description: In this project, we are focusing on how the mesenchymal compartment is mobilized after Influenza A virus-induced lung injury. Of interest is understanding the mesenchymal-immune axis and deciphering cell-cell communication in the subsequent damage repair process.

Mahsa Zabihi El Agha Lab

Mahsa Zabihi, M.Sc.

Project description: The aim is to investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis development and resolution and assess the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal rehabilitation in restoring lung structure and function.

Mahtab Shariari El Agha Lab

Mahtab Shahriari Felordi, M.Sc.

Project description: We aim to deconvolute, spatially map, and characterize our recently identified “Repair-Supportive Mesenchymal Cells” (RSMCs) emerging in response to naphthalene-induced airway injury and regeneration.

M.Sc. student:

Tanya Malik, B.Sc.

Project description: The aim of this project is to investigate the role of type 2 alveolar epithelial cells in promoting regeneration after acute lung injury.

Technical Assistant

Hannah Hofman El Agha Lab

Hannah Hofmann, M.Sc

Project Coordinator

Sezin Czarnecki El Agha Lab

Sezin Czarnecki, Ph.D.


Felix Schwind, M.D.
Alena Moiseenko, Ph.D.
Vahid Kheirollahi, Ph.D.
Xuran Chu, Ph.D.
Laith Salama

Contact information
Elie El Agha, Ph.D.

Professor for Pathogen-Induced Lung Injury and Repair at the Institute for Lung Health (ILH)
Director of the international graduate program Molecular Biology and Medicine of the Lung (MBML)
Cardio-Pulmonary Institute (CPI)
German Center for Lung Research (DZL)
Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC)
Justus-Liebig University Giessen

+49 (0) 641 99 36481

+49 (0) 641 99 36482

Aulweg 132
35392 Giessen

Featured Publications

  • GLI1+ Cells Contribute to Vascular Remodeling in Pulmonary Hypertension

    24. Mai 2024

    Circ Res. Chu X, Kheirollahi V, Lingampally A, Chelladurai P, Valasarajan C, Vazquez-Armendariz AI, Hadzic S, Khadim A, Pak O, Rivetti S, Wilhelm J, Bartkuhn M, Crnkovic S, Moiseenko A, Heiner M, Kraut S, Atefi LS, Koepke J, Valente G, Ruppert C, Braun T, Samakovlis C, Alexopoulos I, Looso M, […]

  • The lung mesenchyme in development, regeneration, and fibrosis

    17. Juli 2023

    J Clin Invest. El Agha E, Thannickal VJ. The lung mesenchyme in development, regeneration, and fibrosis. 2023 Jul 17;133(14):e170498. doi: 10.1172/JCI170498.

    Mesenchymal cells are uniquely located at the interface between the epithelial lining and the stroma, allowing them to act as a signaling hub among diverse cellular compartments of the […]

  • Identification of a Repair-Supportive Mesenchymal Cell Population during Airway Epithelial Regeneration

    22. Dezember 2020

    Cell Rep. Moiseenko A, Vazquez-Armendariz AI, Kheirollahi V, Chu X, Tata A, Rivetti S, Günther S, Lebrigand K, Herold S, Braun T, Mari B, De Langhe S, Kwapiszewska G, Günther A, Chen C, Seeger W, Tata PR, Zhang JS, Bellusci S, El Agha E. Identification of a Repair-Supportive Mesenchymal Cell […]

  • Metformin induces lipogenic differentiation in myofibroblasts to reverse lung fibrosis

    5. Juli 2019

    Nat Commun. Kheirollahi V, Wasnick RM, Biasin V, Vazquez-Armendariz AI, Chu X, Moiseenko A, Weiss A, Wilhelm J, Zhang JS, Kwapiszewska G, Herold S, Schermuly RT, Mari B, Li X, Seeger W, Günther A, Bellusci S, El Agha E. Metformin induces lipogenic differentiation in myofibroblasts to reverse lung fibrosis. 2019 […]

  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Fibrotic Disease

    3. August 2017

    Cell Stem Cell. El Agha E, Kramann R, Schneider RK, Li X, Seeger W, Humphreys BD, Bellusci S. Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Fibrotic Disease. 2017 Aug 3;21(2):166-177. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2017.07.011. PMID: 28777943.

    Fibrosis is associated with organ failure and high mortality and is commonly characterized by aberrant […]

  • Two-Way Conversion between Lipogenic and Myogenic Fibroblastic Phenotypes Marks the Progression and Resolution of Lung Fibrosis

    17. November 2016

    Cell Stem Cell. El Agha E, Moiseenko A, Kheirollahi V, De Langhe S, Crnkovic S, Kwapiszewska G, Szibor M, Kosanovic D, Schwind F, Schermuly RT, Henneke I, MacKenzie B, Quantius J, Herold S, Ntokou A, Ahlbrecht K, Braun T, Morty RE, Günther A, Seeger W, Bellusci S. Two-Way Conversion between […]

  • Fgf10-positive cells represent a progenitor cell population during lung development and postnatally

    15. Januar 2014

    Development. El Agha E, Herold S, Al Alam D, Quantius J, MacKenzie B, Carraro G, Moiseenko A, Chao CM, Minoo P, Seeger W, Bellusci S. Fgf10-positive cells represent a progenitor cell population during lung development and postnatally. 2014 Jan;141(2):296-306. doi: 10.1242/dev.099747. Epub 2013 Dec 18. PMID: 24353064; PMCID: PMC3879811.


Funding & Cooperation Partners

El Agha Lab is always open for collaborations with partners from academia, industry, and the public sector. We are interested in translating our research findings into practice and jointly developing innovative solutions. Funding is a crucial part of our work, enabling us to conduct our research at the highest level. Therefore, we appreciate any contribution that supports us in achieving our goals. Please feel free to contact us for more information.