Investigator, Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program at The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Assistant Professor of Research Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC
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Denise Al-Alam, PhD, joined the Saban Research Institute in 2008 as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Saverio Bellusci, PhD. Since that time, she has been studying developmental processes and childhood lung diseases such as pulmonary hypoplasia and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Due to great advances in medicine over the past decades, more premature babies are surviving, and there is a dire need for a better understanding of the developmental processes and diseases in order to help these babies continue to develop healthy lungs and live normal lives.


Al Alam focuses her research on the developmental processes of childhood lung diseases such as pulmonary hypoplasia and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.


Graduate School: 

University of Pharmacy, Reims Champgne-Ardennes, France, PhD in Immunology (10/2004 – 01/2008)

INSA, Universite Claude Bernard Lyon I, Masters degree in Biochemistry (2004)


Professional Memberships: 
  • American Thoracic Society (2011 - present)
  • Society for Developmental Biology (2011 – present)
  • American Physiological society (2012-present)
  • American Heart Association (2013-2014)
  • Best Poster Award, the Saban Research Institute, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Travel award to participate in Capitol Hill day from Life Science Coalition (March 2012)
  • Featured in Science magazine (March 2012)
  • American Lung Association BPD Scholar of the year 2010
  • Travel Award from Society of developmental Biology to attend Regional meeting (2011 – Hawaii)
  • Travel Award from Tebu-Bio to attend national meeting (2006 France)

Visit PubMed

MacKenzie B, Henneke I, Hezel S, Al Alam D, El Agha E, Chao CM, Quantius J, Wilhelm J, Jones M, Goth K, Li X, Seeger W, Königshoff M, Herold S, Rizvanov AA, Günther A, Bellusci S. Attenuating endogenous Fgfr2b ligands during bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis does not compromise murine lung repair. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015 May 15;308(10):L1014-24. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00291.2014. Epub 2015 Mar 27.

Al Alam D, Danopoulos S, Schall K, Sala FG, Almohazey D, Fernandez GE, Georgia S, Frey MR, Ford HR, Grikscheit T, Bellusci S. Fibroblast growth factor 10 alters the balance between goblet and Paneth cells in the adult mouse small intestine. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2015 Apr 15;308(8):G678-90. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00158.2014. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

McElroy SJ, Castle SL, Bernard JK, Almohazey D, Hunter CJ, Bell BA, Al Alam D, Wang L, Ford HR, Frey MR. The ErbB4 Ligand Neuregulin-4 Protects against Experimental Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Am J Pathol. 2014 Oct;184(10):2768-78. PMID: 25216938.

Zhang P, Chang WH, Fong B, Gao F, Liu C, Al Alam D, Bellusci S, Lu W. Regulation of iPS Cell Induction by Wnt/b-catenin Signaling. J Biol Chem. 2014 Jan 30.

El Agha E, Herold S, Al Alam D, Quantius J, Mackenzie B, Carraro G, Chao CM, Minoo P, Seeger W, Bellusci S. Fgf10-positive cells represent a progenitor cell population during lung development and postnatally. Development. 2014 Jan;141(2):296-306.

Research Interests: 

Denise Al Alam’s research is focused on developmental processes of childhood lung diseases such as pulmonary hypoplasia and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. 

Both bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypoplasia are congenital lung diseases that are co-morbid conditions to other congenital malformation such as diaphragmatic hernia and congenital heart disease. The Al Alam research lab is committed to understanding the interaction between Wnt signaling, an important pathway for the development of many organs including the lung, and the small Rho GTPase Rac1 – a protein found in human cells that plays an important role in cell proliferation, differentiation and cell polarity. The right balance between these events is crucial for the development of a healthy and fully functional lung.

Al Alam also investigates novel pathways for therapeutic intervention or prevention in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) -- the death of tissue in the intestine, which occurs most often in premature babies.

Visit the Al Alam Laboratory.

4661 Sunset Blvd MS#35
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: 323-361-7169Office