Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and of Dermatology
Our laboratory studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control stem cell activity and function within epithelia, the tissues that line our internal organs and outer surfaces. We use the mouse as a genetic model system to study how adult stem cells within epithelial tissues maintain tissue homeostasis, wound healing and can contribute to cancer formation. The primary epithelial tissue we use is the mammalian skin, which contains multiple stem cell populations and forms a complex tissue that protects our bodies from external pathogens and loss of internal bodily fluids. Mammalian skin is an excellent model to study developmental and stem cell biology because the epidermis and its appendages are in a constant state of regeneration, which is actively sustained by tissue stem cells. Our research program focuses on two central questions in developmental and stem cell biology: 1) how is cellular proliferation regulated in epithelial stem cells and 2) how are cell fate decisions directed within epithelium. We are using biochemistry, genetics, and microscopy to identify novel regulators of epithelial development.